How Do We Prevent the Next Brock Turner? — Pacific Standard
One of the things that’s so appalling about the Turner letters is that it’s obvious the parents would rather have a happy rapist Olympian for a son than direct the moral rehabilitation he so clearly needs. That attitude is a violation of the implicit agreement society has with individual parents not to raise predators.
I’m sure Brock Turner’s parents thought they were protecting him when they begged Judge Aaron Persky to spare him from the full consequences of his conviction for sexual assault. The letters from his mom and dad may have kept Turner out of jail for more than a few months, but they also have helped make him the poster-boy for coddled rapists everywhere. Between his father Dan, who worried about his son’s vanished ability to enjoy ribeye steaks, and his mother Carleen, who lamented that she no longer had the inspiration to decorate their house, there’s no indication that the Turner family felt any compassion for the woman who was assaulted. It’s clear they bought his pat story about a drunken hook-up gone bad. At least that’s what they’re saying in public.
Given the horrors of the American penal system, it’s hard to blame any parent for trying to keep their child clear of its walls. “Look at him,” Carleen wrote to Judge Persky, “He won’t survive it … Stanford boy, college kid, college athlete—all the publicity…. This would be a death sentence for him.” She’s not wrong to be afraid, even if her prison-movie nightmares have a racist tinge — being an unpublicized teenager didn’t make jail any more survivable for Kalief Browder. Incarceration isn’t redemptive or educational, and a good parent plays every card they have to hold onto their child. But where is the line between support and complicity, between being a good parent and a bad person?