Rape case judge faces death threats

By Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles

Criticism grows over six-month sentence for former Stanford University student.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky has come under withering criticism.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky has come under withering criticism.

The judge who gave a six-month jail term to the former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious young woman has received a string of death threats after the sentence was widely condemned as too lenient, court officials said yesterday.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky has come under withering criticism and faces a recall effort for the sentence he imposed last week on 20-year-old Brock Turner for the January 2015 attack. Prosecutors had asked that Turner be put behind bars for six years.

Gary Goodman, supervising attorney for the Santa Clara County Public Defender's office, said the threats had prompted the county sheriff's office to increase its security presence at the courthouse.

The uproar over the sentence is part of growing outrage over sexual assault on US college campuses.

Because Persky ran unopposed for re-election, he did not appear on the ballot for Wednesday's primary election, but could still face a write-in candidate in November, county officials said.

A Stanford University law professor, Michele Dauber, has begun a formal effort to recall Persky in an election next year and said she expected her campaign to gather the needed signatures. "What we need to do is replace Judge Persky with a judge who understands sexual violence against young women and wants to keep them safe on college campuses," Dauber said.

A North Carolina pastor wrote a widely circulated "open letter" to Turner's father, Dan Turner, in which he criticises the father for seeking leniency from the judge in a much-derided missive in which he said: "That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life."

"To be honest, I don't give a damn and if his victim was your daughter I'm quite sure you wouldn't either," John Pavlovitz wrote.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported yesterday that Turner has had two months cut from his term and will be released in September.

- Reuters

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