He was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious and inebriated female, a recent California at Santa Barbara graduate, next to a dumpster outside of a fraternity party. Turner was charged with assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object, according to the Guardian. He will serve six months in county jail for the crime and will be required to register as a sex offender.
At the sentencing, the victim, now 23, made the case that Turner should not be granted an alleviated sentence because the offense was his first. To do so, she said, would merely feed back into the current dangers faced by women on college campuses.
“We cannot forgive everyone’s first sexual assault,” she said (again via the Guardian). “The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly. We should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.”
Prosecutors wanted the judge to sentence Turner to six years in a California prison, according to the Mercury News. Instead, Turner will reportedly serve only half of his six-month sentence — roughly three months, on the assumption of good behavior — in the county jail, as Judge Aaron Persky said a harsher sentence would “have a severe impact on him,” a claim that has since drawn the ire of Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen, who told the Guardian “the punishment does not fit the crime.”
Both Turner and the woman were reported to have been intoxicated the night of the incident, with the woman testifying that she did not remember the night’s events. At the time, the woman was in a committed relationship. She testified that she had not planned on going out the night of Jan. 17 but that her younger sister and friends convinced her to come out with them.
Turner said he and the woman flirted and kissed inside the party before exiting around midnight when she accepted his invitation to return to his dorm room. In court, a friend of the victim present at the party rebuked Turner’s claim, saying the closest he got to initiating any sort of physical relationship with the group came when he was rejected in his attempt to kiss the victim’s sister. The victim could not recall what happened next — her blood alcohol level was three times the legal driving limit. Turner claimed the woman was conscious and that their sexual activity occurred when she slipped and fell to the ground soon after the two left the house. He said she granted him consent while on the ground.
In court, the woman said she did not recall meeting Turner, let alone consenting to sexual activity.
Two graduate students, Peter Jonsson and Carl Arndt, rode their bikes past Turner in the midst of the rape. Both left their bicycles after shouting at Turner upon realizing what was taking place. Turner attempted to flee the scene, but Jonsson pursued Turner on foot while Arndt tended to the victim. The duo tackled and pinned down Turner, whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, until police arrived and arrested him.