Assemblymember Eggman calls for sentencing judge in Stanford rape case to step down

Monday, June 6, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, on Monday called for the resignation of the judge who sentenced a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman to just six months in county jail.

Brock Turner, 20, was arrested January 18, after two Stanford graduate students confronted him after spotting him lying on top of a woman near a garbage bin on the Palo Alto campus. He was convicted in May of three felonies: assault with intent to commit rape, sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an intoxicated woman with a foreign object. He could have been sentenced to up to 14 years in state prison; the prosecutor asked for six.

Last week, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to just six months in county jail. Persky justified the lenient sentence by citing Turner’s youth and his lack of a prior criminal record.

The victim, a 23-year-old woman, had asked that the sentence send a strong message, and is reported by the Guardian to have said, “We cannot forgive everyone’s first sexual assault … The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly. We should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.”

On Monday, Eggman said that Turner’s sentence was an outrage that only reinforced the inequities of a justice system that seeks to place blame on victims for being vulnerable rather than holding rapists individually accountable.

“Judge Persky’s decision is baffling and repugnant, especially given the rapist’s refusal to accept his guilt, and to instead blame ‘drinking culture,’ which is an obvious attempt at blaming the victim,” Eggman said. “Six months in the county lockup is a sentence so lenient it sends a clear message that rape will not be treated seriously.”

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, vice-chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, joined Eggman, saying, “Rape is never an accident. It is never invited, wanted or warranted, ever. Rape is a cancer that impacts the lives of survivors daily and for a lifetime. It is disappointing; the judicial process put this victim on trial and the judge has reduced his sentence to no more than an inconvenience.”

Eggman and Garcia called for Persky to resign, and said that if he did not they would exhaust other measures for holding him accountable.