CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses rape and sexual assault.

The lawyer for Brock Turner, the American ex-student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015, has launched an appeal to overturn those charges on the premise that Turner did not intend to rape the woman and only commited so-called “outercourse.” 

Lawyer Eric S. Multhaup stood before a San Jose appeals court on Tuesday and attempted to convince three judges that insufficient evidence was presented to the jury before Turner’s conviction, The Mercury News reports.

Multhaup argued that Turner, who was convicted on felony charges of sexual assault with intent to rape and two counts of digital penetration, was found fully clothed at the time of the incident.

“Outercourse”, Multhaup claimed, is a sexual act conducted while clothed, and is therefore separate from sexual assault with intent to rape. He also argued that the jury was left to “speculate” about details of the case before they settled on a verdict.

However, the judges did not appear to take Multhaup’s arguments on board – if they understood them at all.

“I absolutely don’t understand what you are talking about,” Justice Franklin D. Elia said to Multhaup. Assistant Attorney General Alisha Carlile added there was “ample” evidence to support the jury’s verdict, and called Multhaup’s argument a “far-fetched version of events”.

The appeals court justices are expected to deliver their decision on the case within 90 days.

Turner was controversially sentenced to only six months in prison by Judge Aaron Persky, a decision which ultimately led to Judge Persky being voted out of his position. Even then, the former Stanford student served just three months of his sentence.

As it stands, the 22-year-old is serving three years of probation, and will be registered as a sex offender for life.

The case became emblematic of the leniency offered to some privileged men accused of sex crimes, and in many ways served as a precursor to the broader #MeToo movement.


This article discusses sexual assault & harassment. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about domestic violence, sexual assault or rape, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

Source: The Mercury News