Brock Turner, a former Stanford swimmer who was convicted of sexual assault back in 2016 but served only three months in prison, lost his appeal on Wednesday. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Last month, Turner’s lawyer argued that he pursued “outercourse,” not intercourse with his victim. But a three-judge panel at San Jose’s 6th District Court of Appeal upheld the original conviction.
“Neither the evidence nor common sense supports defendant’s contention that ‘dry humping’ ‘is mutually exclusive to actual intercourse,'” the opinion reads.
In 2015, two students came upon Turner sexually assaulting an unconscious woman by a dumpster outside of a fraternity party at Stanford University. The following year, he was convicted of sexual assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.
He was sentenced to only six months in jail; he ended up only serving three months of that sentence.
“Defendant contends evidence that he was fully clothed and engaged in forms of sexual conduct other than intercourse — namely, ‘fingering’ and ‘dry humping’ — negate an inference of intent to rape. We are not persuaded,” the California Court of Appeal said. “While it is true that defendant did not expose himself, he was interrupted. Jurors reasonably could have inferred from the evidence described above that, if the graduate students had not stopped defendant, he would have exposed himself and raped [the victim].”
Turner’s case received national attention because of his short sentence, his father’s insistence that his punishment was “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action,” and the media’s insistence on highlighting his swimming prowess in the opening paragraph of every story about him, not the fact that he was convicted of intending to rape someone.
— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) June 6, 2016
“At the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming,” the survivor said in a victim-impact statement during the 2016 trial.
While Turner will remain a free man, his conviction and sex offender status will now follow him for the rest of his life. Back in 2016, the woman he sexually assaulted said she supported that ruling.
“He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years,” she said. “It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life.”