SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The case against a former Stanford University swimmer on sexual assault charges has gripped the country. It’s launched a national conversation about campus sexual assault, college drinking and inequitable treatment in the criminal justice system.
Letters to a judge from Brock Allen Turner’s family and friends have drawn outrage from critics who say they are shifting blame. Meanwhile, a searing message the victim read to Turner at his sentencing has been called a courageous account of the effect the assault has had on her.
Here’s a closer look at Turner and key dates related to the case and the ongoing debate, gleaned from court files:
— Aug. 1, 1995 — Brock Allen Turner is born in Dayton, Ohio. He has an older brother and sister. His father is an electrical engineer and his mother a registered nurse.
— 2010-2014 — Turner attends Oakwood High School in an affluent Dayton suburb, where he excels on the swim team. He wins state titles in several freestyle events. He still holds the high school record for fastest 500-meter time in Ohio. Investigators will later say they found text messages on Turner’s cellphone discussing drinking, smoking marijuana and taking LSD before leaving for Stanford University in September 2014, according to prosecutor Alaleh Kianerci.
— July 25, 2014 — Turner texts a friend “dude I did acid with Kristian last week.” His friend boasts about “candyflippin,” which is slang for taking LSD and the drug ecstasy together. “I gotta…try that. I heard it’s awesome,” Turner responds.
— Sept. 2014 — Turner starts attending Stanford University on a swimming scholarship.
— Nov. 15, 2014 — Turner and several teammates are chased by police after officers see the group walking on campus and drinking beer. The group had been on its way to a football game when they scattered after an officer shouted for them to stop. Two officers chase the teens through campus, finally catching one. The detained swimmer calls Turner and told him to return and talk with police. Turner, who was wearing an orange tuxedo, returns and apologizes for running away. He receives a ticket for being a minor in possession of alcohol.
— Dec. 18, 2014 — Turner texts a friend “do you think I could buy some wax so we could do some dabs?” Police say “wax” and “dabs” are slang for a highly concentrated form of marijuana that is similar in appearance to honey.
— Jan. 10, 2015 — Turner attends party at Kappa Alpha fraternity house. A female Stanford student who lived in Turner’s dorm building introduces a friend to him. The friend later tells police Turner “creeped her out” and was “grabby” with her because he was placing his hands on her waist, stomach and thigh while they were dancing. The friend says she didn’t invite Turner to dance with her nor did she seek his physical attention. She tells police she left the dance floor to get away from Turner.
— Jan. 17, 2105 — Turner attends a party at Kappa Alpha fraternity house where he meets the victim, the victim’s sister and their friends. Turner and the victim leave the party and she passes out behind a nearby dumpster where Turner assaults her early the next morning. He is tackled by two grad students and arrested.
— Jan. 18, 2015 — Turner posts $150,000 bail and is released from jail
— Jan. 28, 2015 — Turner is formally charged with two counts of rape, two counts of penetration and one count of assault with intent to rape. He pleads not guilty.
— Oct. 7, 2015 — A judge tosses out the rape charges and Turner is ordered to stand trial on the remaining counts.
— March 30, 2016 — A Santa Clara County jury finds Turner guilty of the three remaining counts. Turner’s attorney says the verdict will be appealed.
— May 9, 2016 — Turner tells a probation officer that he believed the victim was responsive during the assault and that he would have stopped if he thought she was unconscious. “Being drunk I just couldn’t make the best decisions and neither could she.” He denies ever using illegal drugs. In a written statement, he says “coming from a small town in Ohio, I had never really experienced celebrating or partying that involved alcohol.” He says he was an “inexperienced drinker and party goer.”
— May 31, 2016 — Turner’s attorney Mike Armstrong urges the judge to sentence his client to four months in jail. “The fact remains that, even after trial in this court, no one can pinpoint exactly when the victim went from being conscious to being unconscious.” Armstrong told the judge that Turner “is a fundamentally good young man from a good family with a record of real accomplishments who made bad choices during his time at Stanford of about four months, especially related to alcohol and the 20 minutes or so during the night of January 17-18, 2015 when he committed these serious crimes.” Armstrong noted that Turner was expelled from Stanford, effectively ending an elite and promising swimming career.
— June 2, 2016 — Judge Aaron Persky sentences Turner to six months in jail and orders him to register as a sex offender for life. Turner is taken into custody and placed in protective custody because of his notoriety. He is scheduled to be released on Sept. 2. The sentence touches off an emotional national debate about leniency and campus sexual assault. Critics begin to collect signatures in an attempt to remove Persky from the bench.