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Stanford Scuttles Plans For Plaque Marking Sexual Assault Over Quote Dispute

Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. He served three.
Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. He served three.

A woman who was sexually assaulted by a Stanford University swimmer outside a campus fraternity party will no longer participate in the creation of a memorial marking the site of her attack.

University spokesman Ernest Miranda told The Associated Press Tuesday the decision was made after campus officials and the victim, who was attacked while unconscious by then-star swimmer Brock Turner, failed to agree on a quote to include on the plaque.

The wire service reports Miranda said the university deferred to the young woman, who was asked to choose from three lines suggested by the university. All of its recommendations were pulled from a statement read by the victim during Turner's June 2016 sentencing.

Instead, the victim offered two new quotes. But the university rejected them and the woman decided not to continue participating in the symbolic gesture.

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, a family friend of the victim, was behind the idea for the memorial. She told the AP, the university's "poor handling of the situation" scuttled plans for the marker which was intended to recognize the victim's "voice and experience."

During Turner's sentencing the victim read a statement in court in which she said in part, "I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect."

The victim also wondered how the case would have been handled if her attacker had been a different person: "If I had been sexually assaulted by an un-athletic guy from a community college, what would his sentence be? If a first time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be?"

As NPR reported in September 2016, Turner was released just three months into a six-month sentence at Santa Clara County Main Jail. His sentence had drawn furious public response against the athlete and Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who was widely criticized for imposing a lenient sentence.

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Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
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