At a hearing on Thursday, 20-year-old Brock Allen Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. After he was sentenced to six months in county jail—the judge gave him a short sentence because he was concerned anything more would have “a severe impact on him,” according to the Guardian—the now-23-year-old victim read a powerful statement in court that has since gone viral.
Stanford law professor Michelle Dauber recently posted a portion of a letter written by Turner’s father on Twitter. The message, which Dan Turner wrote before his son was sentenced, was meant to encourage the judge at the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in Palo Alto, Calif., to consider an alternative sentence to jail time. In it, Dan Turner never acknowledges that his son has committed a crime, as The Cut points out—even though two Stanford graduate students found him “thrusting” on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Rather, he focuses on how he will “never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile” again. “This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” he writes. “What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015. Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”
Turner responded to criticism in a statement to The Huffington Post:
“My words have been misinterpreted by people. What I meant with that comment is a 20 minute period of time. I was not referring to sexual activity by the word ‘action.’ It was an unfortunate choice of words and I did not mean to be disrespectful or offensive to anyone.”
Read Dauber’s tweet below, or read the full letter: