An attorney for Brock Turner—the former Stanford University swimmer whose few-month jail stay for sexual assault sparked a national conversation about rape culture and judicial discretion—said his client only wanted to have “sexual ‘outercourse’” with his passed-out victim and didn’t “intend” to rape her.
Eric Multhaup said as much in court Tuesday while trying to convince a three-judge panel to overturn his client’s sentence to a lifetime status as a registered sex offender, according to news reports. Turner, now 22, was convicted in March 2016 of assault with intent to rape an unconscious woman, sentenced in June that year to six months in jail and released in half that time.
An emotional 7,000-word statement from the victim known only as Emily Doe” vaulted the case into the international spotlight. Outrage over the brevity of Turner’s lockup branded the ex-athlete as the face of rape culture and fueled a recall campaign that ousted the judge who sentenced him.
Last December, Turner applied for an appeal. His legal counsel claimed at the time that the initial trial was unfairly swayed in Emily Doe’s favor by a “lengthy set of lies.” Multhaup has since narrowed his argument to the question of intent.
At Tuesday’s hearing in California’s 6th District Court of Appeal, Multhaup asserted that Turner only wanted sexual contact while fully dressed. Multhaup called it “’outercourse,’” and described it as a version of “safe sex.”
Assistant Attorney General Alisha Carlile, who appeared on behalf of the state, reportedly dismissed Multhaup’s characterization as “far-fetched” and in direct contradiction to the eyewitness accounts of two grad students who saw Turner “thrusting his hips atop an unconscious woman lying” partially naked by a dumpster on campus.
According to court records, Emily Doe woke up in a hospital the next day with bloodied hands and arms and scraped, scratched and dirtied genitalia.
The judges have 90 days to rule on Turner’s request for a new trial.