21-year-old Brock Turner, the Stanford student whose brief sentence for a rape conviction sparked international headlines, is now a free(ish) man, released from Santa Clara County Jail this morning after serving 90 days for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman.
As previously reported, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in county jail for the crime, but days after the June sentencing it was revealed that Turner's release date was scheduled for September 2, as "it was assessed that he was unlikely to misbehave behind bars."
And apparently Turner managed not to misbehave, as at 6:08 a.m. this morning, Turner left the jail through the front door, met by a large group of reporters and a much smaller contingent of protesters.
Turner kept his face uncovered but didn't look at the media scrum as he silently exited the jail and hopped into a waiting white SUV. Here's his departure from a few vantage points:
Brock Turner leaving jail pic.twitter.com/9jglfnxhYD— Ellen Cushing (@elcush) September 2, 2016
Brock Turner just left in silence from jail. pic.twitter.com/DdmXoT6C57— Averi Harper (@AveriHarper) September 2, 2016
Following Turner's release, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith addressed the assembled media, saying “He should have never been in our jail, he should have been in prison,” and expressing support for a proposed new California law mandating prison (as opposed to county jail) sentences for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting a person who is unconscious or too intoxicated to give consent.
“I think anyone convicted of rape ought to do time in state prison,” Smith said. “That’s why I am supporting the Assembly Bill 2888. It’s on the governor’s desk right now. It makes mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of raping an intoxicated and unconscious person.”
At the Brock Turner release, Sheriff is campaigning for a bill that would toughen punishment for sex crimes against an intoxicated victim— Ellen Cushing (@elcush) September 2, 2016
Letter being distributed to press: pic.twitter.com/SkYd3Gxmzn— Ellen Cushing (@elcush) September 2, 2016
When asked about concerns over any death threats facing Turner, Smith said “I think that we’re well prepared for him walking out today, and I don’t think there’s any definable, actionable threats, but there is a lot of hate.”
The Chron reports that Turner "was given a large packet of hate mail on his release," but Turner wasn't seen carrying that packet as he headed — alone, without friends, family, or his attorney — down the steps of the courthouse Friday morning.
Only a small group of protesters was present for his release, reports CBS 5, but that's expected to change by 9 a.m., when women's rights organization UltraViolet is scheduled to arrive carrying signs that read "Thanks to Judge Persky, Brock Turner Served Just 3 Months in Jail."
Turner is also expected to face protests at his family's home in Ohio, where he's reportedly said he will be returning. And, already, residents of Turner's affluent hometown of Oakwood appear concerned, with one telling WDTN “Having that background that he has now...And then going back into the world where he can get a job around here that’s just kind of scary.”
Turner will be on probation for the next three years, a probation that would be violated if he were to consume drugs or alcohol. According to the Chron, Turner has five days to register as a sex offender at the Sheriff's Department in Xenia, Ohio, after which the department "will send postcards to Turner's neighbors informing them that a convicted sex offender is moving in nearby."
Turner will be required to re-register every three months in person, and confirm that he is still living with his parents. His is also, the Chron reports, "barred from parks, schools and other places where children are expected to gather."
As Turner walked out of jail, the only question I heard from the crowd was "are you going to say you're sorry Brock?" No response.— Ellen Cushing (@elcush) September 2, 2016