Friend of Brock Turner pens letter arguing convicted rapist is 'innocent'

By Rebecca Sullivan of news.com.au

A childhood friend of convicted rapist Brock Turner claims he is incapable of rape and blames America's college drinking and hook-up culture, not Turner, for the sexual assault of a young woman.

Turner was last week sentenced to six months jail on three counts of sexual assault, after he raped an unconscious woman behind a garbage bin at Stanford University in 2015.

His friend Leslie Rasmussen submitted a letter to Judge Aaron Pesky during the trial, arguing the case against Turner was pursued by people concerned about political correctness.

This undated booking photo provided by Santa Clara County Sheriff shows Brock Turner. Photo / AP
This undated booking photo provided by Santa Clara County Sheriff shows Brock Turner. Photo / AP

"Where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists," she wrote.

"It is because these universities market themselves as the biggest party schools in the country. They encourage drinking.

"I think it is disgusting and I am so sick of hearing that these young men are monsters when really, you are throwing barely 20-somethings into these camp-like university environments, supporting partying and then your mind is blown when things get out of hand."

Ms Rasmussen wrote that students who commit sexual assault on campus should not be called rapists.

"This is completely different from a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot. That is a rapist. These are not rapists," she wrote.

"These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgment.

"I'm not saying that is every case, because I know there are young men that take advantage of young women and vice versa, but I know for a fact that Brock is not one of those people. He is respectful and caring, talented and smart enough to know better."

Brock Turner, right, makes his way into the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse. Photo / AP
Brock Turner, right, makes his way into the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse. Photo / AP

Ms Rasmussen said Turner was "not a monster" and was incapable of rape.

"It is frustrating to see the light that people are putting him in now. It used to be 'swim star' and now it's like he is the face of rape on campuses. It's such a false way to put it. I cannot believe it," she wrote.

Ms Rasmussen said there was "absolutely no way" Turner went out that night "with rape on his mind."

"I think this is all a huge misunderstanding," she wrote. "I think that the bikers who found him did the right thing by keeping him there in case he was attempting rape, but that after the investigation, it should have found Brock to be innocent.

"Brock is not a monster. He is the furthest thing from anything like that, and I have known him much longer than the people involved in this case.

"I don't think it's fair to base the fate of the next 10-plus years of his life on the decision of the girl who doesn't remember anything but the amount she drank, to press charges against him. I am not blaming her directly for this, because that isn't right."

In her letter, Ms Rasmussen included a photo she took of Turner in high school, where he is pictured smiling.

"The caption is even 'd'awwww' because he was always the sweetest to everyone ... I would not be writing this letter if I had any doubt in my mind that he is innocent," she wrote.

Video

Ms Rasmussen's comments echo those of Turner's father Dan, who argued his son's life would be "deeply altered" by the court's verdict.

"He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile," he wrote in a statement to the court.

"His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamt about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life."

Mr Turner says his son should not be sent to jail.

"The fact that he now has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact people and organisations," he wrote.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who drew criticism for sentencing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in jail. Photo / AP
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who drew criticism for sentencing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in jail. Photo / AP

"What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violence to anyone, including his actions on the night of January 17, 2015."

Mr Turner then suggested his son could become a role model for young people.

"Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity," he wrote.

"By having people like Brock educate others on college campuses is how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results. Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation and allows him to give back to society in a net positive way."

The woman Turner assaulted, who has not been identified for privacy reasons, addressed her attacker directly in court on Thursday.

Her extraordinary 7000-word statement explaining how the attack left her emotionally scarred was published online yesterday and has since gone viral.

"You don't know me, but you've been inside me, and that's why we're here today," she said.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 03 Dec 2016 15:10:44 Processing Time: 603ms