Convicted rapist Brock Turner was released from the Santa Clara Country Jail in San Jose, Calif. at 6 a.m. this morning, ABC reports, after serving just three months of his six-month sentence.
Turner was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault of an unconscious person earlier this year, for a rape that took place at Standford University in January 2015. He faced up to 14 years in federal prison, though the deputy district attorney asked for six years, citing Turner’s testimony and lack of remorse. Ultimately, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to only six months in a county jail and three years probation, citing Turner's seeming remorse for the crime and his lack of previous criminal record.
Turner's case has become an example of the pervasiveness of rape culture—as a young, white man at an elite school, he received what many people saw as barely any punishment, even though he was found guilty of raping an unconscious woman and trying to run away. The victim's powerful statement relating the impact the rape had on her also went viral after it was published on BuzzFeed News, adding to the public outrage over the crime. Following the sentencing, a campaign was launched to impeach Judge Aaron Persky, and ABC reports that Turner received hate mail while in jail. The California legislature passed a bill earlier this week in response to the Turner case, saying that everyone convicted of rape must serve time in prison (Turner only served time in jail).
Even with the short jail sentence, Turner isn't completely free. He'll return to his hometown in Ohio, where he must register as a sex offender. He'll also be on probation for three years and has to enter a sex offender management program for a period of one to three years.
“Even if Brock Turner only spends a limited amount of time in custody, being on probation or parole is not like being free in society,” University of Massachusetts Lowell associate professor Jason Rydberg told CNN. “You are monitored and your movements are controlled.”
Since Turner was convicted, rape cases at Vanderbilt, Indiana University, University of Colorado and even a Massachusetts high school have been compared to Turner's case, either because of similar circumstances or because the perpetrators got incredibly light sentences given the severity of their crimes.