Brock Allen Turner, the former Stanford swimmer found guilty on three sexual-assault charges in March, received his sentence last week: six months in a county jail. During the sentencing hearing Thursday, Turner’s father argued that his son, who had been discovered on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster last January, should not be punished severely by the courts for “20 minutes of action.” Judge Aaron Persky apparently agreed, explaining that he declined to give Turner the maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison—or even six years, as prosecutors had asked—because “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”
But the victim’s own words about the assault and its impact—a moving 7,000-word statement directly addressed to Turner in the courtroom—lit up the internet this weekend: BuzzFeed‘s article alone has racked up more than 5.4 million views.
On Monday, Ashleigh Banfield, who hosts CNN’s Legal View, devoted her show to the Stanford case, taking several minutes live on air to read from the victim’s letter. Watch the video above.
The victim’s supporters are now calling for Persky to be recalled from his seat as a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge. Two Change.org petitions—one calling for Persky to be impeached by the state Legislature and another demanding his recall—have collected more than 94,000 signatures in total. “The judge had to bend over backwards to accommodate this young man,” Stanford law professor Michele Dauber told NBC News. “I think he was very persuaded by the background of the young man as an elite athlete.”
With Persky up for reelection this year, California voters might have had a chance to hold him accountable in Tuesday’s California primary. There’s just one problem: Perksy is running unopposed. He will remain on the bench for another six years.