Ex-Stanford swimmer freed after only 3 months in jail for sex assault

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More Security Planned for Brock Turner's Release

A former Stanford University swimmer was released from jail on Friday after serving just half of a six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, a punishment widely criticized as too lenient.

Brock Turner, 20, left the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose before dawn, just three months after starting a sentence for assault with intent to commit rape, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person.

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Sheriff's deputies stood nearby as Turner, carrying a jacket and paper bag with his belongings, walked silently from the jail to a white sports utility vehicle waiting at the curb.

He climbed into the vehicle which quickly sped away.

Related: Brock Turner released from jail

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Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo taken January 18, 2015, and received June 7, 2016. Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith speaks to members of the media prior to the release of Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, at the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
An undated photo of Brock Allen Turner is shown in Ohio State General's office website. Courtesy Ohio Attorney General's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, leaves the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, U.S. September 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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Uproar over the case is part of growing concern about sexual assault on U.S. college campuses and was fueled in part by a harrowing letter from the victim, who remains anonymous, in which she detailed the assault in graphic terms.

Anger intensified after prosecutors released a letter written by Turner's father who appealed for leniency and called the assault "20 minutes of action."

Turner, 19 at the time, was arrested after two students saw him outside a fraternity house on top of an unconscious woman.

He was charged with sexual assault instead of rape because although he digitally penetrated the woman, he did not have intercourse with her, and California law does not define that as rape.

Prosecutors had asked Turner be given six years in state prison and under normal sentencing guidelines he likely would have received at least two years. But in June, Turner was sentenced to only six months in the county jail and three years probation.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters at the jail she was disappointed with the sentencing: "I think that anybody charged with, convicted of rape, should do time in state prison."

Inmates sentenced to county jail in California often serve just half of their sentences before being released, based on factors such as good behavior, according to legal experts.

Turner's lawyer, Mike Armstrong, declined to comment on the case when reached by email on Friday.

Protesters have planned a demonstration later on Friday near the jail calling for the recall of Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Turner. Last month, Persky asked to be assigned to the court's civil division.

The case also prompted California lawmakers Monday to pass legislation, which must still be signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, that would bar probation in similar.

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