The father of Brock Turner, the former Stanford University student athlete convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, apparently started an online fund to pay for his son’s legal fees.
The Dayton Daily News and WHIO-TV reported that Dan Turner set up a support fund with a local credit union. A woman describing herself as “a lifelong friend, mother and person who has watched this family grow” set up a Facebook page called the “Turner Family Support Fund” on behalf of Turner’s parents. The page is now defunct, but it provided members directions on how to donate to a Wright-Patt Credit Union account to “help ease the financial burden that this situation has caused,” the paper said.
“(Turner’s parents) are dealing with a monumental life-changing and tragic situation with Brock, and their expenses continue to mount. As a mother and friend, I would do anything to help my child and save him,” the supporter wrote on Facebook. “I know that while we are not experiencing what they are feeling, my heart and faith continue to want to help and be supportive.”
Screenshots of the now-deleted Facebook page have surfaced online.
The credit union has said the Turner legal defense fund account is still active, CBS News reported.
Turner, his father, and the judge presiding over his case have received immense public scorn—even drawing the attention of Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote a letter in support of the victim—after the swimmer received a six-month jail sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman behind a Stanford University dumpster.
Dan Turner said in his letter that it’s “inappropriate” to incarcerate someone who has “no prior criminal history and has never been violent with anyone including on the night of January 17.” He also added he is “excited to buy (Brock Turner) a big ribeye steak …. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist.”
The unnamed victim penned a emotional testimonial to the judge, published later by BuzzFeed, that quickly went viral.
“You have been convicted of violating me with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol,” the victim told Turner in the letter. “Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things. Figure out how to take responsibility for your own conduct.”
After the letter spread quickly across social media websites, a Change.org petition and recall initiative was also started against Judge Aaron Pesky, who wrote in his sentencing order: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Turner]. I think he will not be a danger to others.”
Turner, a swimmer at Stanford also suffered a professional setback: USA Swimming banned him for life from competing Friday.
“Brock Turner’s membership with USA Swimming expired at the end of the calendar year 2014 and he was not a member at the time of his crime or since then,” USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman said in a statement. “As a result, USA Swimming doesn’t have any jurisdiction over Brock Turner.”
Marco Saccaggi, a family friend, said he’d donate to the legal defense fund.
“My wife remembered he was always the first one to say ‘seat belts’ in the car,” Saccaggi told the Dayton News. “For us, it was really a shock. It is not the Brock we know.”
He also didn’t offer his opinion on the judge’s sentence. “It is not for me to judge,” Saccaggi added.
“We were not there, we don’t know the facts. We trust the system.”