Turner, 21, was handed a six month sentence by Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky and will have only served three months due to good behavior when he is released on Friday.
Turner was convicted in March of three felony counts—assault with the intent to commit rape of an unconscious person, penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.
Turner sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman behind a dumpster on university grounds on Jan. 17, 2015. At his sentencing, letters from former teachers, childhood friends, and relatives flooded Pesky’s desk, imploring for leniency for the then-20 year-old.
Turner’s childhood friend, Leslie Rasmussen—member of the indie band, Good English—lost several gigs after she penned a character reference to the judge on behalf of the convict.
The victim, whose name has not been disclosed, released a 12-page victim impact statement, where she asked for more severe consequences for sexual violent perpetrators. The statement went viral on social media at the time.
“The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly, we should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error,” she wrote. “The consequences of sexual assault needs to be severe enough that people feel enough fear to exercise good judgment even if they are drunk, severe enough to be preventative.”
Turner could have faced a maximum of 14 years in prison but was instead given a sentence of six months by Persky, who believed a long-term incarceration wouldn’t be conducive to the former student’s rehabilitation.
“Obviously, the prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Persky said in court. “The defendant is youthful and has no significant record of prior criminal offenses.”
Following the sentence, Persky was inundated with death threats and an online petition called for him to be recalled.
Since the trial, Persky no longer presides over criminal cases and now presides over civil cases.
Turner’s light sentence prompted California lawmakers to unanimously pass a bill on Aug. 29 that would require mandatory prison time for those convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious victim.
“Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that,”Assemblyman Bill Dodd said in a statement. “Letting felons convicted of such crimes get off with probation discourages other survivors from coming forward and sends the message that raping incapacitated victims is no big deal.”
The bill now awaits the signature of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
Once out of jail, Turner will be on probation for three years and will have to register as a sex offender.