Brock Turner Cites Party Culture, Alcohol As Explanation For Rape

By Victoria Kim 06/10/16

The sexual assault case made headlines after the unidentified survivor read a powerful letter to Turner in court which was published on Buzzfeed.

Brock Turner Cites Party Culture, Alcohol As Explanation For Rape
via YouTube/Complex News

Brock Turner—the 20-year-old convicted sex offender whose six month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster sparked outrage for being too lenient—said his actions were the product of “peer pressure” to fit into the “college lifestyle” of drinking and partying. Turner wrote in a statement that he never wants to have another "drop of alcohol again."

In documents obtained by Huffington Post and the Guardian, which include a report from his probation officer, Turner is found attempting to explain himself by citing college party culture and the pressure to drink as factors that led him to his decision to sexually assault the now 23-year-old victim on the night of January 17, 2015.

“Being drunk I just couldn’t make the best decisions and neither could she,” Turner told his probation officer in a pre-sentence interview. 

In a statement to Judge Aaron Persky, Turner said peer pressure and having to fit in at college—to a “culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity”—can destroy lives. “I want to show that people’s lives can be destroyed by drinking and making poor decisions while doing so. One needs to recognize the influence that peer pressure and the attitude of having to fit in can have on someone,” he wrote.

“I want to demolish the assumption that drinking and partying are what make up a college lifestyle,” he continued. “I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decisions hurt someone.” 

“I wish I had the ability to go back in time and never pick up a drink that night, let alone interact with [redacted],” he wrote in the same statement. “At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed.”

The victim, in response to Turner’s argument that they were both heavily intoxicated during the sexual assault, read her own statement in court: “Regretting drinking is not the same as regretting sexual assault. We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away. That’s the difference.” 

As more details are uncovered about the case, it just keeps getting uglier. Turner was found to have lied about his alcohol and drug use, portraying himself to the judge as a naive small town boy with little experience with alcohol, who only wanted to fit in with his swim team. He wrote in a letter to Judge Persky: “Coming from a small town in Ohio, I had never really experienced celebrating or partying that involved alcohol.” But according to prosecutor Alaleh Kiancerci, texts and photos found on Turner’s mobile phone seized by the police provide evidence that he used alcohol (as well as LSD and pot) well before the sexual assault.

While a student at Stanford University in January 2015, Turner was spotted by two graduate students sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus near a fraternity party where they met. The graduate students pinned him down while the police were called. In March, Turner was found guilty of three felony sexual assault charges—assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

A letter written by Turner’s father, Dan Turner, to Judge Persky before his sentencing sparked outrage when he asked the judge not to send his son to prison, saying it would be a “steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

Prosecutors had asked for a six-year prison sentence, according to CNN. But Judge Persky gave Turner just six months of jail time. 

And it seems Turner will be serving even less time than that. According to a Thursday report by Mic, Turner is set for release on September 2, after just three months in jail. Mic followed up with Public Information Officer Sgt. James Jensen, who said the date of release displayed on the Santa Clara County Department of Correction website is correct, but he wouldn’t say if Turner's sentence was formally reduced.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr