The mother of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner anticipated the outrage her son would face after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus.
In an anguished letter to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky prior to her son’s sentencing, Carleen Turner pleaded for mercy, saying sending him to jail would be “a death sentence.”
“I beg of you, please don’t send him to jail/prison. Look at him. He won’t survive it. He will be damaged forever and I fear he would be a major target. Stanford boy, college kid, college athlete -- all the publicity,” Carleen Turner wrote in her statement, which was among the court documents made public today. “This would be a death sentence for him.”
A jury found Turner, 20, guilty in March of three felonies: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated-unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person. He was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation by Persky last week, sparking national uproar from critics who questioned why Turner received such little prison time.
Turner must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He plans to appeal his conviction and is expected to be released three months early on Sept. 2.
In her letter to the judge, Carleen Turner insisted her son “has lived an exemplary life” and was on a path to success at Stanford, all of which she said has been “shattered” by the guilty verdicts. Carleen Turner's letter does not mention the victim.
“He has never been in trouble, never even had a demerit in high school, he studied, swam worked hard,” the mother wrote. “His dreams have been shattered by this. No NCAA Championships. No Stanford degree, no swimming in the Olympics (and I honestly know he would have made a future team), no medical school, no becoming an Orthopedic surgeon.”
Carleen Turner also described how the trial has “destroyed” her family.
“I know what a broken heart feels like. It is a physical pain that starts just below the collar bone and extends to below the rib cage, it is a crushing and heavy ache that feels like I am being squeezed. This feeling has not left my body since the verdict. This verdict has destroyed us,” she wrote.
Carleen Turner said she and her husband are a “working middle-class couple with Midwestern values” who had recently downsized their house to ease their financial burdens. Her two other children have collectively accumulated $150,000 in student loan debt, Carleen Turner said, because she and her husband were unable to pay for college tuition. Brock Turner had been awarded a 60 percent swimming scholarship by Stanford University prior to his expulsion over the sexual assault case.
“There have been many references to Brock being from a wealthy, privileged background and he thinks he is entitled. Your honor, this could not be further from the truth,” Carleen Turner said in her statement to the judge. “We do NOT come from money, rather the opposite.”
USA Swimming, the national governing body of competitive swimming, announced earlier today that it has banned Brock Turner for life from competing in events sanctioned by the organization. Although Turner’s membership with the organization expired at the end of 2014, before he committed the crimes, the move blocks him from being eligible for one ever again. Swimmers must be a member of USA Swimming to compete in sanctioned events, including the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials that select the Olympic team every four years.