Trying to save a son from the consequences of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster is not acceptable. Brock Turner’s parents pleaded to the judge for mercy after a jury convicted their son of 3 felony counts of sexual assault. Any loving parent wants mercy for their child just as we all want it from God. But only after we are sorry for our sins are we forgiven and showered with mercy from the ultimate judge, God. Brock and his parents are still making excuses.
The promising future afforded by a swimming scholarship and Brock’s pre-med major at the prestigious Stanford University evaporated when he gave in to disordered sexual desires. People are outraged, not just by this case, but over the letter written by his father to the judge begging for leniency. A letter by his mother has also surfaced.
They Made Things Worse
Brock’s parents have magnified the impact of their son’s depravity. They made excuses and begged for leniency on their beloved son, but never once acknowledged the harm he did to someone’s beloved daughter.
Brock’s mom insisted her son “has lived an exemplary life” and was a “nice guy” whose success has been “shattered” by the guilty verdicts. His father claimed that Brock should not have to go to prison for “20 minutes of action.” He was sentenced to six months and probation—a major reduction of the 14 years in prison possible for his crimes. His father lamented: “He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite.” That description should be sadness for over what he stole rather than over what he threw away.
I feel heartbreak for the Turners. Imagine those years of excitement and success all gone due to Brock’s one drunken night. But if only they could see: “The truth shall set you free,” (John 8:32). They are choosing imprisonment by fighting the truth, heaping judgment upon themselves from the media and public all while remorse appears completely absent. The Turners determination that their son escapes charges for his crime, dragged the victim through a yearlong, painful court case where her personhood was again assaulted. The case has also ignited a firestorm of anger against Judge Aaron Persky’s who was persuaded to be lenient on Brock since prison would have a “severe impact on him.”
Turner called himself a victim of the party culture at Stanford and blamed drinking and promiscuity. But that was not the problem that destroyed his dreams. Sexual assault was. He and his parents still don’t seem to get that.
The Real Victim Speaks Out
The victim's powerful letter read in court went viral in the media and put the assault into perspective. She pointed out that Brock could have spared a lot of people a lot of pain, but didn’t want to give up his life as he had known it. He could have admitted guilt, apologized and accepted punishment for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. But not even after being found guilty, was there an apology.
In her letter, the victim responded to Turner’s statement to the judge that he wants to show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life. “A life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect…. You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol. 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….
“He has only apologized for drinking and has yet to define what he did to me as sexual assault, he has re-victimized me. He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life.”
The Turners plan to appeal the conviction. I pray for them to stop—to stop and feel the pain of the real victim and to stop further victimizing their son and themselves by running from God’s mercy.