Watch a CNN Anchor Read the Stanford Sexual-Assault Victim’s Powerful Letter to Her Assailant

“I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrifed of it.”


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.