Advocacy leaders, students react to Stanford sexual assault case; say sentencing is too lenient

(Brock Turner)

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – A former star athlete at Stanford  University is now in prison, convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus. Brock Turner could have gone to prison for 14 years. Instead he will spend just six months in the county jail.

His victim is anonymous, but her emotional 12-page statement is having a real impact on women sexually assaulted on campus.

University at Buffalo Student Ashley Gormandy said, “What he did was detrimental to that woman’s life where is her retribution?”

Prosecutors said that in January 2015, witnesses saw him sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus.

Sharon Nolan Weiss, Director of Equity Diversity and Inclusion at the University at Buffalo said, “You have somebody who goes to a party and she describes waking up and not knowing what happened to her and then later on finding out what did happen.”

Now, we’re hearing from the victim herself, through her emotional statement read in court. She writes, ” I was not only told that i was assaulted, I was told that because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted. And that distorted me, damaged me, almost broke me. It is the saddest type of confusion to be told I was assaulted and nearly raped, blatantly out in the open, but we don’t know if it counts as assault yet. I had to fight for an entire year to make it clear that there was something wrong with this situation.”

Nolan said, “It is a very powerful piece. I think it illustrates very well how these cases often happen in the context of a college campus.”

Local advocacy leaders like Nolan Weiss say people are now outraged at the light sentencing.  She said, “As the victim herself questioned-, it seems a lot of the reason he was given a light sentence was because he was going to Stanford because he was a star swimmer.”

Gormandy said, “You shouldn’t have to worry about going out and having a good time and having something like that happen and having that be his sentence? Its infuriating.”

If you’d like to read the full victim impact statement, you can find it here. 

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