The circumstances surrounding the Stanford rape case that made international headlines for the rapist’s seemingly light prison sentence are, indeed, unique.
As reported in The New York Times, former Stanford University champion swimming Brock Turner was convicted in March of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman behind a dumpster.
Like many campus sexual assault cases, it happened after a liquor-fueled party at a frat house, and Turner initially claimed that the encounter was consensual.
But unlike many other cases, Turner’s actions were halted by two graduate students who happened to be riding bicycles when they saw Turner on top of the victim, “thrusting his pelvis toward her.”
In this article, Thomas Fuller of The Times interviewed defense attorney Shanlon Wu, who specializes in defending college students and also in college sexual assault cases.
Wu told the reporter that this case “had unimpeachable witnesses.”
“Someone was basically caught red-handed,” Wu said.
Turner tried to run away, but the two witnesses caught him and held him down until police arrived.
The case is also distinct for the very light sentence Turner received. He will be eligible for release after serving only three months of a six month county jail sentence despite a California mandatory minimum that required two-years in state prison. The prosecution had asked for six years.
National publications like The New York Times often turn to Wu for insight into the complexities of campus sexual assaults because of his extensive background in defending college students.