A Stanford Law professor is leading a recall campaign against a judge who gave an unusually lenient sentence to a man convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus.
Two witnesses came upon Brock Allen Turner, 20, “thrusting” on top of an unconscious woman next to a dumpster on Jan. 18, 2015. Turner, a former championship swimmer at Stanford, was found guilty of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman and sexually penetrating an intoxicated and unconscious person with a foreign object, the Guardian reports. But the judge presiding over the case, Aaron Persky, only gave Turner a six-month sentence, compared with the six years prosecutors had asked for (and a maximum sentence of 14 years).
The victim’s response to her attacker went viral in recent days, and her supporters have become outraged by the lenient sentence. A Change.org petition calling for Persky to be removed from the bench has more than 100,000 signatures, and a similar UltraViolet petition has nearly 50,000 signatures. And now Stanford Law Professor Michele Landis Dauber tells the Guardian she will be leading a formal campaign to recall Persky. “He has made women at Stanford and across California less safe,” she said. “The judge bent over backwards in order to make an exception … and the message to women and students is ‘you’re on your own,’ and the message to potential perpetrators is, ‘I’ve got your back.’”
Turner maintains that the act was consensual, a point that the judge said he factored into his ruling in addition to the fact that a longer sentence would have “a severe impact” on the young man.
A spokesperson for the Santa Clara superior court told the Guardian that the judge could not comment on this case while an appeal is pending.