California legislators have passed laws to align the state’s penalties for rape in a way that avoids the national spectacle brought on by the Brock Turner sentencing. The Golden State’s current rape penalty scheme provides leeway to judges to reduce offender sentences when the victim was unconscious or otherwise unable to give legal consent to intercourse. The new law closes this gaping loophole.
In March 2015, a jury convicted former Stanford swimmer Turner of three counts of sexual assault after an incident involving an on-campus rape he committed. The victim’s impact statement shows some of the horrible effects this crime often has on its victims:
You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice. . . . The damage is done, no one can undo it.
Indeed, sexual violence like rape can devastate victims, inducing depression; flashbacks; post-traumatic stress disorder; dissociation; and eating, sleep, and substance abuse disorders; as well as physical consequences such as trauma, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy.
The new law does not allow judges to shorten the mandatory three-to-six-year prison sentence for rapists of victims who cannot legally consent, as was done for Turner. (In fact, Turner only served three months of his sentence, allegedly due to good behavior.) The new law also allows more acts to be legally referred to as “rape.”
Supporters of the new law believe that it will help deter rapes in California by sending a strong message of disapproval to potential offenders.
You can rely on the compassionate San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP to guide you through the difficult time that follows sexual assault, including a sexual assault committed when you were a child. We are here for our clients and will passionately seek appropriate compensation for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.