Brock Turner sex assault: Protesters, bike billboards planned for Stanford swimmer’s early jail release

SAN JOSE — Protesters, including some on wheels, will be right outside the jailhouse doors Friday upon the expected but nevertheless controversial early release of Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a campus party.

A planned rally in front of the Santa Clara County Main Jail and Hall of Justice that morning is now set to feature three bicyclists hired to circle the complex and carry billboards reading: “Thanks to Judge Persky, Brock Turner Served Just 3 Months in Jail.”

The slogan is a reference to Judge Aaron Persky, who has drawn the ire of anti-rape advocates since handing Turner what many believed was too light given the seriousness of his crimes, and was seen as a reflection of how college rape and sexual assault overall is not taken seriously enough by the criminal-justice system.

Given the anticipated size of the crowd in front of the jail and courthouse, enhanced by the national footprint that the story has amassed, has prompted the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which secures both facilities, evaluating tailored security plans for Friday.

Turner could be released as early as 12:01 a.m. Friday, but typically the jail doesn’t release prisoners until daylight. The bicycle billboards will begin at 9 a.m. and the protesters have a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m.

The early release for Turner, who will have served three months out of a six-month sentence, was widely expected when he was sentenced in June, owing to a lack of prior criminal history.

Turner was convicted in March of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. The basis of the conviction was a Jan. 18, 2015 encounter where he was seen thrusting his hips atop an unconscious, partially clothed woman outside the Kappa Alpha fraternity. Two Stanford graduate students who were bicycling by called police and chased down Turner.

Besides Turner’s conviction, the leniency in sentencing given by Persky drew national outcry and protests of the judge, eventually spurring his requested transfer from criminal to civil court, which is set to take effect in the coming month. A recall effort continues.

Prosecutors also protested Turner’s sentence after they recommended he serve six years in state prison, in a case that touched off a national discussion about how seriously college rape is investigated and the influence of wealth and privilege in the criminal-justice system.

After Turner is released, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and complete a sex offender management program.

Check back later for updates to this story.

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