Carleen Turner, the mother of former champion Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner pleaded for his mercy in a four-page letter to a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky prior to Turner’s sentencing, The Fresno Bee reports.
“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,” Turner wrote in a letter, which was among the court documents made public this week. “This would be a death sentence for him.”
Mrs. Turner emphasized her son’s lack of a criminal record prior to the crime in her letter. “He has never been in trouble, never even had a demerit in high school, he studied, swam worked hard … His dreams have been shattered by this. No NCAA Championships. No Stanford degree, no swimming in the Olympics, no medical school, no becoming an Orthopedic surgeon,” she wrote.
In March, a jury found Turner’s 20-year-old son guilty 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. Turner could have faced up to 14 years in prison. Judge Persky said that he felt the convicted rapist’s age and lack of a criminal record warranted a six-month sentence, probation and requirement to register as a sex offender.
The sentence resulted in national outcry. One million people signed a petition for Judge Persky to lose his job after what has been viewed as a lenient sentence, CNN reports.
Carleen Turner said that their family is working middle-class, strapped with $150,000 in student loan debt from three children. “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,” Turner wrote. “We do NOT come from money, rather the opposite.” She said that her son’s generous swimming scholarship from Stanford University was the only reason he was able to attend the prestigious university.
USA Swimming, the national governing body of competitive swimming, announced 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.
Vice President Joe Biden recently penned a missive to the survivor of Turner’s assault, acknowledging that “the nation is not satisfied” with the lenient sentence and praised the anonymous woman’s bravery for speaking out against her rapist.
Vice President Joe Biden has written a powerful letter to the 23-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted by Stanford student Brock Turner. Watch here.