Judge Aaron Persky said he believes Brock Turner was telling the truth about being under the impression the encounter was consensual
According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Judge Aaron Persky said he believes the former Stanford swimmer’s claims that he “remembered consent” during his sexual encounter with his the unconscious victim behind a dumpster at a fraternity party in January 2015.
“Mr. Turner, in his state of intoxication, sees the events in a certain way,” Perky says.
He added, “I mean, I take him at his word that, subjectively, that’s his version of events,” Persky said. “The jury, obviously, found it not to be the sequence of events.”
Turner was convicted of three sexual assault felonies in March. Along with the six months in jail, Persky sentenced the 20-year-old to three years probation – a sentence far shorter than the six years in jail prosecutors had asked for. The judge argued that a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner.
“I think you have to take the whole picture in terms of what impact imprisonment has on a specific individual’s life,” he said. “And the impact statements have been – or the, really, character letters that have been submitted do show a huge collateral consequence for Mr. Turner based on the conviction.”
Authorities told PEOPLE that Turner will most likely be released from jail in September with good behavior.
The judge faced severe backlash over the light sentence, but he said at the hearing that he believes, based on Turner’s statement to the judge, that the former Stanford student is sorry for the assault.
“So you have Mr. Turner expressing remorse, which I think, subjectively, is genuine, and [the victim] not seeing that as a genuine expression of remorse because he never says, ‘I did this. I knew how drunk you were. I knew how out of it you were, and I did it anyway.’ And that – I don’t think that bridge will, probably, ever be crossed,” Persky said, according to the sentencing transcript.
Prosecutor ‘While the Defendant Believes His Lie, this Court Shouldn’t, Because Twelve Jurors Didn’t’
However, prosecutor Alaleh Kianerci criticized the judge’s ruling, noting that the two men who apprehended Turner that night saw him on top of the unconscious woman.
Kianerci said that Turner believes the woman was coherent only “because that’s the story that he tells himself and his family and that gets him through this day.”
“While the defendant believes his lie, this court shouldn’t, because 12 jurors didn’t.”
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In the weeks following the sentencing, the victim wrote an emotional letter to her attacker that gained national attention.
“Your damage was concrete: stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me,” she wrote.
Persky acknowledged that the woman suffered both “physical and devastating emotional injury,” and added that her life had been “poisoned” by the assault, according to the court documents.
However, he said that a lengthy state prison sentence was not “an antidote for that poison.”
In the wake of the light sentencing, ten potential jurors in Santa Clara County refused to serve in the judge’s courtroom. And Persky was recently removed from a new sexual assault case after the prosecuting attorney filed a motion alleging bias.
Additionally, more than 1 million people have asked for Persky’s removal through a Change.org petition.
Persky was given a new six-year judicial term earlier this month.