Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner’s appeal to have his convictions in a sexual assault case overturned has been rejected, officials said.
A three-judge panel of California's 6th District Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday there was “substantial evidence” that Turner received a fair trial for the 2015 sexual assault of an unconscious woman outside an on-campus fraternity party.
Turner’s attorney, Eric Multhaup, last month argued that there was “lack of sufficient evidence to support three convictions” against his client, taking issue with when the sexual assault survivor, known as Emily Doe, became unconscious.
The defense also argued that because Turner was “fully clothed and engaged in forms of sexual conduct other than intercourse,” it negated “an inference of intent to rape.”
But the justices ruled they “were not persuaded” by the defense’s arguments.
"Defendant argues none of his convictions is supported by sufficient evidence. That argument lacks merit," the ruling said.
In 2016, a jury convicted Turner of assault with intent to commit rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.
Before Turner was sentenced, the sexual assault survivor read aloud a powerful statement to her attacker. Afterward, it went viral online.
“Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened," the statement said. "But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else. You were about to enter four years of access to drunk girls and parties, and if this is the foot you started off on, then it is right you did not continue. The night after it happened, he said he thought I liked it because I rubbed his back. A back rub.”
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of six years in state prison, but Turner received six months in a county jail. He served three months and was released because the jail was overcrowded.
He must also register for life as a sex offender.
Turner’s sentence was criticized as too lenient and resulted in the recall of Judge Aaron Persky, who presided over Turner's trial, by Santa Clara voters in June.