‘Look at him. He won’t survive it’: Brock Turner’s mom begged judge not to put him in prison

Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
(Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office)

The mother of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner begged the judge not to sentence him to jail for sexual assault, saying he’d never survive, according to court documents released last week.

In a letter to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, Carleen Turner begged the jurist to spare her son from imprisonment because she feared what could happen to him.

“I beg of you, please don’t send him to jail/prison,” she wrote. “Look at him. He won’t survive it. He will be damaged forever and I fear he would be a major target. Stanford boy, college kid, college-athlete — all the publicity … this would be a death sentence for him.”

His sister, Caroline Turner, asked Persky to consider counseling, community service and probation instead of jail and “making him a burden of the state.”


“Please give him the chance to use his time to educate and enact change, instead of serving time in jail,” she wrote in a letter to Persky.

Brock Turner is serving a six-month sentence in protective custody in a Santa Clara County jail. He will likely serve half of his sentence based on felony sentencing guidelines in California.

Persky’s sentencing of Turner has triggered widespread outrage, with critics calling the punishment far too lenient.

When Turner was convicted by a jury in March, he faced a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence him to a six-year prison term for the three felony counts he was found guilty of: Assault with the intent to commit rape of an unconscious person; sexual penetration of an unconscious person; and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person.


Later, his chief probation officer, Monica Lassettre, recommended a sentence of county jail, three years of probation and sex offender treatment, according to a probation report.

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In the weeks following Turner’s sentencing, nearly a million people have signed online petitions calling on the California Commission for Judicial Performance to remove Persky.

Persky, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, is up for reelection in November.


So far, no one has submitted paperwork to challenge Perksy or recall him, according to Anita Torres, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County registrar of voters.

The woman who was sexually assaulted by Turner read a 12-page letter in open court, calling the lack of a state prison sentence “a soft time-out, a mockery of the seriousness of the assaults.”

More than 250 students signed a letter submitted to Persky before Turner’s sentencing, asking that he be held accountable for his actions.

In a letter to Persky, founding members of the Stanford Assn. of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention said a light sentence would cause victims to lose trust in the legal system and send the wrong message, leaving widespread damage on college campuses everywhere.


At Sunday’s commencement ceremony, several Stanford students waved signs in support of victims of sexual assault and called on university officials to publicly release names of students who were found responsible for sexual assault.

In a statement released last week, Stanford said $2.7 million of the university’s budget next year is earmarked for programs to combat sexual violence.

“Prevention, through education and training, is at the heart of Stanford’s efforts to achieve a campus culture free of sexual violence,” the university said.

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