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Every Major Development in the Stanford Rape Case, in One Place

Mon, 2016-06-13 13:45

The Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner. (jocelynbyrd/Flickr)


On January 17, 2015, Brock Turner, then a student at Stanford University, raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

The sexual assault was witnessed by two grad students passing by on bicycles, who tackled the rapist, who tried to flee, and helped the victim. Turner was found guilty of the crime in court.

Here are all the things people are talking about, and saying, surrounding the now-infamous Stanford rape case.

1. Turner got a light sentence for his crime


Brock Turner's mugshot. (Facebook)


After almost a year and a half, a judge finally sentenced Turner ... to six months in county jail.

The internet exploded with outrage. Tons of people have voiced their opinions in strongly-worded letters, provoking more responses and discussions.

Why the light sentence? The violent attack could have landed Turner in jail for 14 years. Prosecutors asked the judge to put Turner away for six years. But the judge decided to be lenient and sentenced the 20-year-old rapist to a fraction of that time. And he might end up staying for only three months, if he behaves well.

Defending his decision, Judge Aaron Persky said,

"A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others."

The whole Brock Turner case makes me sick to my stomach. The justice system is a joke.

— kenz (@MackenzieHays) June 10, 2016


2. Many have called for the judge to be fired

Prospective jurors refused this week to serve in a courtroom presided over by Aaron Persky: https://t.co/nHKpIk6JvI pic.twitter.com/PdAkKqo3T6

— Us Weekly (@usweekly) June 10, 2016


The judge's statement didn't satisfy a lot of people. Over 1 million people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the judge to be impeached. (Judges can't technically be fired, but they can be recalled from the bench.) Prospective jurors in a later case refused to serve when they found out Judge Pesky would preside.

The argument? The light sentence doesn't fit the violent and horrendous crime. Many attribute the light sentence to the fact that Turner is a white upper-class male. (Studies find that black men receive sentences that are 20% longer than those of white men.) Oh, and Persky also went to Stanford.

3. The survivor went public with her powerful statement

BuzzFeed published the statement the woman who survived the rape, who wishes to remain anonymous, addressed to her attacker in court.

It starts with the words,

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

The survivor then goes on to recall, in searing detail, her memories of that night and its aftermath, including the horrifying effect it has had on her life. The brutally vivid letter spread like wildfire.

The @Stanford rape victim's letter should be read aloud at freshman orientations. https://t.co/tjeDFMgX3X @BuzzFeed pic.twitter.com/mtdLysmM7V

— Harry Allen (@harryallen) June 7, 2016


CNN's Ashleigh Banfield read it live on the air.



Others have read it live to show support. It will even be read aloud in Congress on June 15th. Representative Jackie Speier said,

"I hope that by reading it into the record, by elevating this issue, that we're going to take some steps to provide leadership on the federal level to address sexual assault on campus and in the military."

4. The vice president of the United States responded

Even VP Joe Biden was moved to write an open letter to the woman being called the Stanford Survivor.

"You are a warrior."

VP Joe Biden writes letter to woman Brock Turner assaulted: https://t.co/y1IIajobpt pic.twitter.com/4kYEFFB3GZ

— espnW (@espnW) June 10, 2016


Biden--who has gone around the country trying to change rape culture on campus--praised the survivor's bravery:

"I am in awe of your courage for speaking out -- for so clearly naming the wrongs that were done to you and so passionately asserting your equal claim to human dignity. And I am filled with furious anger -- both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth."

5. The rapist's father defended his son

It wasn't just the light sentence the public found repulsive. The collective outcry also focused on Dan Turner's defense of his son in court.

Dan Turner father argued that Brock should just get probation, not jail, and attempted to invoke sympathy for his son by detailing he bright future he had had before him. In the father's most often quoted line, he said,

"His life will never be the one that he dreamed 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."

So basically, the father is painting sexually assaulting an unconscious woman as getting "action," and that he son doesn't deserve to pay for his crime. Dan Turner even suggested Brock was a victim who was suffering in this situation, unable to enjoy the foods he loves.

Brock Turner isn't an athlete who made a mistake, he's a rapist who can swim. #BrockTurnerIsARapistNotASwimmer

— haley (@ayyeitshaleyy_) June 10, 2016


#BrockTurner is now in protective custody so he doesn't get attacked. What if it's just 20 minutes though pic.twitter.com/dLRYJwaBbh

— Ryou Bakura (@HashBrownShawty) June 10, 2016


Brock Turner's father says his son has paid a steep price for '20 min of action'...that caused a lifetime of damage for this victim.

— Molly Qerim (@MollyQerim) June 10, 2016


Whether a rape lasts 20 mins or 2 days, what I know is that the impact lasts a lifetime for all the courageous survivors I know #brockturner

— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) June 10, 2016


One writer took it upon herself to fix the statement for him.

Here, I fixed his letter (changes in bold)... pic.twitter.com/qsa8TZWsPJ

— Ali Ozeri (@alexandraozeri) June 6, 2016


6. Another dad responded to Turner's father

Dan Turner's statement wasn't the only viral letter from a father to come out of this case.

Jon Pavlovitz, an author and pastor and a father himself, penned a letter on his blog taking Dan Turner to task for defending his son:

"I need you to understand something, and I say this as a father who dearly loves my son as much as you must love yours:

Brock is not the victim here.
His victim is the victim.
She is the wounded one.
He is the damager."

7. A friend of Turner's got backlash for defending him

Dan Turner was also not the only one to defend the Stanford rapist during his trial. Almost 40 people served as character witnesses for Brock Turner, including a longtime friend named Leslie Rasmussen. She famously blamed "political correctness" for the response to the rape. She also insisted that Turner isn't a real rapist and that alcohol, not Brock, is responsible for his actions.

Rasmussen wrote,

"I don't think it's fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a 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. But 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."

Rasmussen is in a band, The Good English, and they had to cancel their Brooklyn tour due to outrage over her statement.

The girl harping on alcohol being a contributing factor in Brock Turner sexually assaulting an unconscious woman is the dumbest human alive.

— Simply Perfect Girl (@SimplyPerfGirl) June 10, 2016


After the outrage broke out, Rasmussen apologized and admitted she has a lot to learn.



8. Turner's guidance counselor recanted her support

Brock Turner's high school guidance counselor, Kelly Owens, also wrote a letter supporting him to the court about what a good kid he is and pleading for leniency:

"I plead with you to consider the good things -- the positive contributions -- he can make to his community if given a chance to reclaim his life."


She got backlash too, and she published a statement walking back her support:

"In the statement I submitted to the judge during the criminal proceedings and before sentencing referencing Brock's character, I made a mistake. Of course he should be held accountable. I pray for the victim, her family and all those affected by this horrible event. I am truly sorry for the additional pain my statement has caused. I tell my students they have to be accountable, and Brock is no exception."

9. The Swedish bikers shared their story


Stanford at night. (P^2 - Paul/Flickr)


Swedish PhD students Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson were cycling to a party when they saw a Turner raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Arndt said,


"We saw that she was not moving, while he was moving a lot. So we stopped and thought, 'This is very strange.' When he got up we saw that she still wasn't moving at all."

Brock Turner is blowing up but these men (Carl Fredrik and Peter Jonsson) rescued the girl and called the police. RT pic.twitter.com/vMqZePrYMn

— Tweet Like A Girl (@TweetLikeAGirI) June 10, 2016


They spoke to Turner briefly, and then he took off. As Turner ran, one of the bikers chased him while the other made sure the woman was still alive. The survivor says she was told one of the men had trouble giving a statement because he was weeping over what he had seen.

Fortunately this story has heroes who stopped to intervene and help the young woman. But many have asked: If the sexual assault hadn't been witnessed, and interrupted, by these two men, would anyone have believed her? If Turner hadn't been caught in the act, would he have been brought to justice at all?

10. Stanford University made a statement about the case


Stanford University. (hoyip/Flickr)


Stanford released a statement about the case, praising the two bikers and defending the University's actions regarding the situation:

"In less than two weeks after the incident, Stanford had conducted an investigation and banned Turner from setting foot on campus - as a student or otherwise. This is the harshest sanction that a university can impose on a student."

11. It came out that Stanford has a high rape rate

In 2012, 2013, and 2014, Stanford reported 26 on-campus rapes. That's about one every two weeks, on average.

Campuses all over the country have been accused of being hotbeds for rape and sexual assault. Is Stanford helping or hurting the problem?

12. Turner was officially banned from competitive swimming

"Brock Turner is not a member of USA Swimming and, should he apply, he would not be eligible for membership." https://t.co/FOXyTUe52k

— josh (@motoyoshycle) June 10, 2016


Turner, who was a competitive swimmer, just got banned from USA swimming for life. So, you know, that's something.

This article was written by Alison Maney and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.

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Don't Allow Haters Win in Orlando

Mon, 2016-06-13 12:19
The worst thing we could do right now is compound a horrible act of anti-LGBT hate by promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate. To use the worst shooting tragedy in U.S. history to promote Trump-like behavior would be despicable.

It is a race to the bottom -- outright bigotry -- branding all people in a group, regardless of character, as the enemy.

We LGBTs have recently won so many rights -- with the aid of so many non-LGBTs of all faiths -- that it would be unworthy of us to become haters towards any other group of people.

We have in our rainbow LGBT community many Muslims and immigrants who catch it from both sides -- racist Islamophobes on one side, anti-LGBT bigots on the other. We especially need to stand with them, and stand against scapegoating, period.

At the same time, we cannot allow political leaders to gloss over the fact that this was an attack directed specifically against LGBTs, and that the toxic hate directed against us by people of all different faith traditions has played a role in it.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson said yesterday that we need to refuse to be "hyphenated Americans, but stand together as Americans." Sorry, Mr. Senator, but this was an apparent anti-gay attack. Disregarding that fact is to disregard the hate that has been promoted by anti-gay political and religious leaders of both parties, especially in the American South.



Much of the U.S., especially the South, is currently being swept with anti-Transgender "bathroom bills" aimed at dehumanizing Trans people, and by extension, all LGBTs. These bills dehumanize us, and thus make it "okay" to attack us. We would be more inclined to believe politicians' expressions of sympathy for the Orlando victims and their families, were they not also pushing these anti-Trans, scaremongering bills.

Our country is already a violent, tinder box of hate. Things have gotten so bad that we now have a major party presidential candidate who has made it his calling card to make openly racist incitements against immigrants, Latinos and Muslims.

Knowing so much hate and violence directed at us as LGBTs over the decades, we have a responsibility to help end it, not augment it.

We must stand together as human beings of every race, nationality and religion -- not as parochial Americans concerned only with "our own."

We must confront what our own leaders are doing to perpetuate outrages like the scapegoating of groups here in the U.S. We must forcefully oppose the serial bombings and invasions of other countries, and support for despots against their own peoples, which breed terrorism.

Otherwise the cycle of violence will continue.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Pat Quinn Pushes Chicago Term Limits, Elected Office for Chicago Consumer Advocate

Mon, 2016-06-13 11:51
Before serving as governor from 2009 to 2015, Pat Quinn was known as a rabble-rousing reformer who, most famously, led a 1980 citizen initiative that cut the membership of the Illinois House by one-third.

A year and a half after losing the governor's race to Bruce Rauner, Quinn announced he is reviving his political activity with an effort to impose a two-term limit on the mayor of Chicago and create an elected office of Chicago consumer advocate.

"As a long-time Chicagoan, I've been dismayed as insiders tighten their grip on the levers of our government," Quinn wrote in an email to supporters announcing the launch of takechargechicago.org. "That's why I'm launching the Take Charge Chicago petition drive to put two binding referendums on the ballot: a term limit on the Chicago Mayor and creation of a Chicago Consumer Advocate."

Quinn is up against an Aug. 8 deadline to get roughly 53,000 signatures of registered voters in Chicago on petitions to get the proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. The next Chicago mayoral election not until 2019, so Take Charge Chicago could have an effect on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's future even if it fails to place the term limit question on this year's ballot. The group would get a second chance for the 2018 general election.

Quinn is not a newcomer to term limit advocacy. In 1994, as he was pursuing an unsuccessful bid for secretary of state against incumbent George Ryan, then-Treasurer Quinn led a statewide ballot initiative to put a term limits question for state elected officials on the ballot. The Illinois Supreme Court, however, ruled the measure unconstitutional. Ironically, 20 years later, Bruce Rauner -- during a hotly contested gubernatorial race against Quinn -- would lead a similar effort with the same result.

On the consumer front, Quinn's activism led to the creation in 1984 of the Citizens Utility Board, the state government consumer advocate on energy prices.

Quinn's referendum seeks to make Chicago consumer advocate an elected office, but he offered no hint whether he would pursue such an office to the Associated Press: 

He refused to answer if he'd seek public office again. Quinn has recently been making the rounds at political events, fueling talk that he's wants to throw his hat in the ring again.

"I've run for office before," Quinn said. "We'll see about the future."

Here's the complete email message Quinn sent to supporters on Sunday:

Dear Friends,

As you know, I'm a believer in the power of petition and referendum. Over the years, we've used these tools of direct democracy to win major reforms, such as cutting the size of the Illinois House, creating the Citizens Utility Board and allowing recall of Illinois governors.

As a long-time Chicagoan, I've been dismayed as insiders tighten their grip on the levers of our government. That's why I'm launching the Take Charge Chicago petition drive to put two binding referendums on the ballot: a term limit on the Chicago Mayor and creation of a Chicago Consumer Advocate.

These reforms would put everyday people in charge, not the plutocrats. Take Charge Chicago would bring openness to City Hall and offer relief to beleaguered taxpayers and consumers. It can be accomplished by Petition Power, but I need your help.

Consider three points:

1. Chicago is the only city among the nation's 10 biggest cities without a term limit on its mayor.

2. Incumbent Chicago mayors routinely outspend their challengers by millions of dollars reaped from lobbyists, corporations and billionaires.

3. The best way to achieve true campaign finance reform and end secrecy in City Hall is through mayoral term limits. And the only way to achieve term limits is through a petition drive and binding referendum, a power authorized by the 1970 Illinois Constitution.

So, here's the plan. We hope to gather 100,000 signatures from Chicago registered voters to put the Take Charge Chicago referendums on the ballot. Then, if a majority of voters say "Yes" to a term limit on the office of Chicago mayor and creation of a Consumer Advocate for consumers and taxpayers, both reforms become effective in time for the 2019 election.

We can make history: these would be Chicago's first binding referendums in memory. I expect it will be a healthy exercise in democracy and hope it sparks a citywide debate over the structure of our government.

The Take Charge Chicago referendums will open up City Hall and let the people of Chicago in. Let's change Chicago one petition signature at a time!

Go to TakeChargeChicago.org to learn more and download our petition, or call 773-999-2016 and we'll mail you a petition kit. And I invite you can join me this summer at a farmers' market or neighborhood festival to gather autographs from everyday Chicagoans for the Take Charge Chicago petition drive.

Thanks for your help.

Sincerely,
Pat Quinn

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