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U.S.  Vice President Joe Biden.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"You are a warrior"

Joe Biden writes open letter to Stanford sex assault survivor

By WITW Staff on June 10, 2016

Amid the controversy around the sentence a California judge handed Brock Turner, a 20-year-old former Stanford University swimmer, for his conviction on multiple counts of sexual assault, there have been a few glimmers of light. One of them surfaced on Thursday when news of Vice President Joe Biden’s open letter to the survivor of the brutal sex attack broke. The letter, of course, comes after the 23-year-old woman, who has not been identified, read aloud in open court the letter she had written to the judge about the lasting impact the horrific experience has had on her.

“I do not know your name — but I know that a lot of people failed you that terrible January night and in the months that followed,” Biden said in his letter to her, going on to acknowledge how excruciating the experience and the fallout has been for her.

Biden also struck some positive notes, “You are a warrior — with a solid steel spine,” the vice president wrote. “I do not know your name — but thanks to you, I know that heroes ride bicycles … I do not know your name — but I see your unconquerable spirit. I see the limitless potential of an incredibly talented young woman — full of possibility. I see the shoulders on which our dreams for the future rest.”

Meanwhile, new concerns were raised after details surfaced about the judge’s handling of a previous rape case. In 2011, Aaron Persky presided over a civil case in which several members of a college baseball team were accused of gang raping a young woman. During the course of that trial, Persky allowed revealing photos of the alleged victim, known as Jane Doe, to be shown to the jury. Ultimately, four defendants in the case settled, three had their charges thrown out and two others took their cases to trial and were found not liable by the jury.

Pressure on Persky is mounting amid public outcry over Turner’s sentence, of which, it was reported on Thursday, Turner will only have to serve half. A petition to have Persky removed from the bench has crossed the 1 million signature threshold as of Friday morning. And while Turner’s stay in a county jail may be brief, a professional swimming career will be forever off the table. USA Swimming banned Turner for life on Friday, condemning his “crimes and actions.”

Read Biden’s complete letter at BuzzFeed and read the full story at The Guardian and CNN.


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