WASHINGTON — Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle dedicated floor time Thursday to read excerpts from a statement written by a sexual assault victim, after the six-month sentence of her attacker sparked national outrage.
Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe and California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier both decried the outcome of a case where a former Stanford University swimmer was issued a six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting a woman while she was unconscious.
The defendant, Brock Turner, was convicted for intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person.
“Today I want to honor the courage of the woman who survived Brock Turner’s violent assault, her bravery inspires me, as I hope it will inspire you,” Speier said Thursday.
Speier was joined by Poe in sharing the woman’s story during their floor time.
“This judge got it wrong,” Poe said, referencing his personal experience as a prosecutor and criminal court judge in Texas. “There’s an archaic philosophy in some courts that sin ain’t sin as long as good folk do it. In this case, the court and the defendant’s father wanted a pass for the rapist because he was a big shot swimmer. The judge should be removed.”
Turner’s father also gained attention for dismissing the incident in a letter by calling it “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 years of life.”
“Mr. Speaker, the punishment for rape should be longer than a semester in college,” Poe said.
“Our justice system must become better than this, our educational system must become better than this,” Speier said. “People must understand that rape is one of the most violent crimes a person can commit.”
By Sophie Tatum