A former Stanford University student accused of raping a drunk and unconscious woman on campus pleaded not guilty Monday morning after being charged last week with five felony counts of sexual assault.
This was the first public court appearance for Brock Allen Turner, a three-time All-American high school swimmer from Ohio at the center of a case that has garnered international attention.
Before he entered his plea, the 19-year-old sat, free on $150,000 bail, next to his attorney and father, chewing gum. He answered Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky with simple "yes" answers, acknowledging that he understand the charges being brought against him.
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His attorney, Mike Armstrong, had requested that Turner be allowed to stay in Ohio, where the teen had been a swimming champion and now lives with his parents for each of his upcoming court appearances, saying it would be costly to fly back and forth to Palo Alto. Turner dropped out of the elite private university after he was arrested on Jan. 18.
But Persky denied that request and ordered Turner to stay 100 yards away from the woman at the center of the case for one year. Turner was ordered to return to court on March 30.
Neither Turner nor his attorney have given interviews after a frat party where two cyclists told authorities they found the swimmer on top of the woman and called for help.
But according to a report from the Santa Clara County sheriff's office, Turner admitted hooking up with the woman after telling authorities he downed a total of nine beers and whiskey drinks at a party. But he denied raping her, the reports state.
Prosecutors charged Turner with five felony counts: One count of rape of an intoxicated person, one count of rape of an unconscious person, one count of sexual penetration by a foreign object of an intoxicated woman, one count of sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious woman and one count of assault with intent to commit rape. If he is convicted of all counts, Turner faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison.
Turner told authorities he met the woman at a party on Jan. 17 at the Kappa Alpha house, and they ended up kissing on the ground, according to the sheriff's report. She was just one of "a few girls" he had "hooked up" with that night, he told investigators.
Turner said he took off the woman's underwear, digitally penetrated her and touched her breasts, but never took off his pants and never had sexual intercourse with her, the report said. He said that the woman rubbed his back and seemed to enjoy the activity and that his "intentions were not to try and rape the girl without her consent" but to 'hook up' with a girl," the report said. He also said he had never met her before and probably wouldn't be able to recognize her if he ever saw her again.
But the woman said she can't remember much of anything.
She told police in her statement that she had downed four whiskey shots less than two hours before being dropped off at the Kappa Alpha party by her mother. At the party, she told authorities she had two more vodka shots and "blacked out" after going outside of the house 20 or 30 minutes later with her sister, court documents state. She does not attend Stanford.
Two cyclists, who are graduate students at Stanford, told police they spotted Tuner on top of the woman and tried to stop what they were witnessing. They then chased Turner, who authorities said tried to flee, and held him down.
Peter Lars Jonsson, one of the two men found straddling Turner, told deputies that just before 1 a.m., he and a fellow math PhD student were riding bikes near the Dumpster by the frat house and noticed a man on top of a woman lying on the ground.
Jonsson said it "definitely" looked like the two were having sex and that the woman, whose black dress was pulled up, appeared unconscious and not moving, he told deputies said in the report.
Jonsson told authorities that he had a "weird feeling" about what he was seeing because the woman looked "asleep or unconsious" as he saw the man thrusting on top of her, according to court records.
When Jonsson and his friend went to investigate, Turner saw them, got up slowly off of the woman and began to run away "pretty fast," court documents state. After checking on the woman, Jonsson said he and his friend chased and caught up with Turner after he refused to stop.
Jonsson said he did a "leg sweep" and tripped Turner, who fell to the ground, which is when Jonsson tackled him, court documents state. Jonsson and fellow cyclist, Carl-Fredrik Arndt, restrained him after a struggle until deputies got there, court documents state. Two other men also helped.
When police arrived, the woman was lying unconscious and in a fetal position, partially naked, beneath a pine tree and by a Dumpster between Kappa Alpha and the Jerry House, a student residence, the reports state. A deputy took Turner into custody, adding that he "stumbled slightly" getting into the patrol vehicle but "seemed coherent enough."
Before court on Monday, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci said she was thankful not only that the cyclists were nearby, but that they took action.
“These types of parties happen all across the country," she told reporters. "Sadly, they often go unreported, or worse, are not able to proceed in these cases. Luckily, for the victim in this case, there were two good Samaritans who were at the right place at the right time and more importantly, they did the right thing. And that’s the message that needs to be sent to the community. Don’t just stand by if you see something inappropriate. If you see something, say something.”