A North Carolina father has written an open letter to the dad of the former Stanford University athlete whose sexual assault case has stirred up intense debate, and his poignant message in the letter has gone viral.
Brock Turner, 20, was found guilty in March of three felonies — assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person. Last week the former student and swimmer was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation by Judge Aaron Perksy. That sentence, which many critics say was too lenient, has provoked outrage against the judge.
Before his son’s sentencing, Dan Turner wrote a letter to the judge pleading for leniency.
“As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan. 17th and 18th. He will never be his happy-go-lucky self with that easygoing personality and welcoming smile. His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression,” Dan Turner wrote. “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."
He asked that his son be given probation and said that he is “totally committed to educating other college-age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”
Dan Turner’s words outraged many people across the nation, including John Pavlovitz, a pastor, blogger and father in Wake Forest, North Carolina. In a blog post titled “To Brock Turner’s Father, From Another Father,” Pavlovitz writes that “there is no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here.”
“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,” Pavlovitz wrote in the blog post. “This young woman will be dealing with this for far longer than the embarrassingly short six months your son is being penalized. She will endure the unthinkable trauma of his ‘20 minutes of action’ for the duration of her lifetime, and the fact that you seem unaware of this fact is exactly why we have a problem.”
In a statement issued Tuesday to CNN, Dan Turner said people had misinterpreted the phrase "20 minutes of action." "What I meant with that comment is a 20-minute period of time. I was not referring to sexual activity by the word 'action.' It was an unfortunate choice of words, and I did not mean to be disrespectful or offensive to anyone," Dan Turner said.
He could not be immediately reached by ABC News for comment in response to Pavlovitz's letter.
Pavlovitz said he doesn’t think Brock Turner is a “monster” but believes he still must face the consequences because “he acted like one.”
“Brock has to register as a sex offender because he sexually assaulted an incapacitated young woman. This is why we have such requirements; because one vile act against another human being is one too many,” he wrote. “It feels like you want more sympathy and goodwill toward your son than you want for the survivor of his crime, and that’s simply not good enough for her or for those young men and women watching.”
Pavlovitz included a link to an emotional, 12-page letter written by Brock Turner’s unidentified victim, in which she directly addresses her attacker.
“If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated, we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering,” the woman, now 23, read in court last week from her victim impact statement, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.