By virtue of the media firestorm surrounding his trial, conviction, and very lenient sentence, 20-year-old Stanford student Brock Turner is now one of the most infamous sexual assailants in America. In the days following the conviction, there's been much discussion about various letters that became public through the trial — statements from the woman Turner sexually assaulted, his friends, his father, and even the self-pitying letter he himself wrote to the judge. In the event you've missed all this, here's how to read the Brock Turner trial documents.
Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, a story that's every bit as harrowing and awful in the details as you would imagine. He received a mere six months in prison, plus three years probation, a light sentence that has inflamed a lot of public opinion — as is depressingly common with stories like these, even though Turner's controversially forgiving sentence has provided a platform for victims of sexual assault and anti-rape culture advocates, it's also pulled back the curtain on some deep ugliness in how America views questions of rape and consent.
It's possible you've heard these sorts of things before, because they're depressingly common. The sort of rape apologia that says it wasn't really rape, or that just because Turner sexually assaulted someone doesn't mean he's actually at fault, or that spending just six months in jail for "20 minutes of action" is too steep a punishment — which is literally what Turner's father argued in a letter to the judge. But on the other hand, there's also the lengthy, heartrending, and essential statement from victim, which is a grueling but absolutely essential read. Here are some of the highly-scrutinized documents from the Turner trial.
1. Brock Turner's Letter To Judge Aaron Persky
You can read the full letter that Turner wrote to Persky here, which largely paints the sexual assault as an act of drunken promiscuity.
2. His Father's Letter To Judge Aaron Persky
The letter Turner's father wrote in his son's defense has been the subject of furious scrutiny and controversy, thanks in large part to his shocking characterization of the sexual assault as "20 minutes of action."
3. His Friend's Letter To Judge Aaron Persky
A friend of Turner's also submitted a letter to the judge as a character witness, and it included one particularly jarring and controversial implication — that considering Turner at fault for committing the sexual assault would be "political correctness."
4. The Impact Statement By Turner's Victim
Saving the best — or at least, the most sympathetic, heartrending, and crucial — for last, you should definitely read the full impact statement from Turner's victim. She reportedly read this statement aloud to Turner in court. If you'd rather listen to it, you can also watch CNN's Ashleigh Banfield, who read the entire thing aloud on her show on Monday. Banfield subsequently said that her only regret was that the victim herself couldn't read it — she remains anonymous, and wants to keep it that way.
Image: Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff (1)