While sexual assault victims and their advocates were appalled at his light jail sentence, sex offender Brock Turner has been forever immortalized under the definition of “rape” in a criminal justice textbook.
The SF Gate reports Washington State University student Hannah Kendall posted a photo of the page on Facebook September 7, and it quickly went viral. Turner was convicted on three felonious counts of sexual assault in March of 2016 but received a mere six-month sentence, of which he only served three months, sparking outrage and protests.
The photo appears in Introduction to "Criminal Justice: Systems, Diversity and Change," the second ediiton, by Callie Marie Rennison and Mary Dodge, which was published in January by Sage Press, according to The Sacremento Bee newspaper.
Kendall’s Facebook post says “He may have been able to get out of prison time but in my Criminal Justice 101 textbook, Brock Turner is the definition of rape, so he's got that goin for him.” The post has nearly 102,000 shares and over 4,000 comments.
Turner was a freshman at California’s prestigious Stanford University, which he was attending on a swimming scholarship, when he was observed sexually penetrating an unconscious woman outside the Kappa Alpha frat house in January 2015. When confronted by a pair of Swedish exchange students, Turner tried to run away but was apprehended by them, and later arrested and indicted on three counts of sexual assault and two counts of rape.
Though the rape charges were later dropped, as there was no proof of sexual intercourse, Turner was found guilty of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. Despite being convicted of three felonies, and the prosecutions recommendation of a six-year prison sentence, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in the county jail.
Turner’s perceived light sentence, and subsequent release after three months, angered many. Online petitions called for Persky’s removal from the bench, and the California Commission on Judicial Performance investigated him on bias charges, for which he was later cleared. Now a registered sex offender, Turner meanwhile was met upon his release by armed protestors outside his parent’s Ohio home, where he must stay during his three-year probationary peroid.
The textbook caption underneath Turner’s mugshot photo says, “Brock Turner, a Stanford student who raped and assaulted an unconscious female college student behind a dumpster at a fraternity party, was recently released from jail after serving only three months. Some are shocked at how short this sentence is. Others who are more familiar with the way sexual violence has been handled in the criminal justice system are shocked he was found guilty and served any time at all. What do you think?”
While the textbooks authors have yet to comment on the recent uproar, co-author Callie Rennison spoke about the book last November when she received the Bonnie S. Fisher Victimology Career Award. As reported by the British website Metro, she said most criminal justice books “speak little about victims, reflecting how they have effectively been in the shadows of our criminal justice system. In our book, victims are front and center with equal emphasis as cops, courts and corrections. This is the way it should be.”
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