One of two Stanford graduate students who intervened after finding undergrad Brock Turner sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus in January 2015 is speaking out.
Peter Jonsson and Carl Arndt, both from Sweden, saw Turner sexually assaulting the 23-year-old woman behind a dumpster outside of a fraternity party. More than a year later, Arndt still struggles to come to terms with what he saw that night.
“It was really horrible,” he told NBC News. “It was hard to see.”
Jonsson and Arndt were riding their bicycles when they came across the scene and jumped off them once they realized what was taking place, according to The Washington Post.
When Turner tried to run, Jonsson pursued him on foot and the two men held him down until police arrived.
Arndt recalled the incident in an interview with Swedish news outlet Expressen, telling the publication of the moment he and Jonsson saw Turner assaulting the woman.
“We saw that she was not moving, while he was moving a lot,” Arndt said in Swedish. “So we stopped and thought, ‘This seems very strange.’ ”
Jonsson approached Turner first, and Arndt followed, he said.
“When he got up, we saw that she was still not moving in the slightest, so we asked something like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ ” Arndt said.
The men exchanged a few words before Turner took off running. Jonsson pursued Turner while Arndt stayed with the woman who, he said, “lay perfectly still.”
“To me it is unique in its form and comes as close as you can possibly get to putting words on an experience that words cannot describe,” he wrote.
Controversy Over Six-Month Sentence
In March, Turner, a former Stanford swim team member, was convicted of three felonies. Last week, a judge sentenced the 20-year-old to six months in county jail and three months probation – a sentence far shorter than the six years prosecutors had asked for.
Judge Aaron Persky said a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner, CNN reports. The sentence has been heavily criticized. A Change.org petition started earlier this week calling for Persky to be recalled from his position has garnered over 650,000 signatures.
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Additionally, a letter written to the judge by Turner’s father, Dan Turner, ahead of the sentencing has also sparked widespread criticism.
“These verdicts have broken and shattered [Turner] and our family in so many ways,” Dan wrote, asking the judge to give his son probation rather than prison time.
“His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
‘Hopefully This Will Wake People Up’
Turner claimed that he and the woman flirted and kissed before leaving the party and that their sexual encounter occurred after she slipped and fell to the ground, according to the Washington Post. A friend of the victim said Turner and the woman had no physical contact at the party.
Turner told authorities that the victim gave him consent for sex that night, but the woman said in court that she didn’t recall meeting Turner, let alone agreeing to have sexual contact with him.
In the letter that has gained national attention, the woman condemned Turner, but wrote that the judge’s sentence has prompted action.
“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she wrote in the letter.
“I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak louder.”