Ex-Stanford swimmer leaves jail after serving half his term

This January 2015 booking photo released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office shows Brock Turner. The former Stanford University swimmer was sentenced last week to six months in jail and three years' probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, sparking outrage from critics who say Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky was too lenient on a privileged athlete from a top-tier swimming program. (Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office via AP)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Brock Turner, whose six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at Stanford University sparked national outcry, has been released from jail after serving half his term.

The one-time Olympic hopeful swimmer walked out the main entrance of the Santa Clara County jail Friday shortly after 6 a.m. PDT. Turner, who kept his head down and didn’t acknowledge the media, got into a white SUV. He plans to head to his native Ohio to live with his parents. The 21-year-old must register as a sex offender for life and faces three years of supervised probation.

Turner’s case exploded into the spotlight when a poignant statement from the victim swept through social media and critics decried the sentence as too lenient. It prompted California lawmakers to pass a tougher sexual assault law and led to an effort to remove the judge from the bench.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Turner was given a large packet of hate mail on his release. She said he was held in “protective custody” during his incarceration, but that her department didn’t receive any credible threats. “There was a lot of hate,” she said.

Turner was convicted of assaulting the young woman near a trash bin after they drank heavily at a fraternity party in January 2015. He plans to appeal.

In the June sentencing, Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky cited the “extraordinary circumstances” of Turner’s youth, clean criminal record and other considerations. He followed the probation department’s recommendation for a “moderate” jail sentence.

Following backlash and a push for a recall, Persky voluntarily removed himself from hearing criminal cases, starting next week.

California jail inmates with good behavior typically serve half their sentences. Ohio prison officials earlier this month agreed to take over supervision of Turner’s probation.

Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said Turner has five days to register as a sex offender with his office in Xenia, Ohio, 15 miles east of Dayton. He will have to report to a probation officer for three years and must avoid alcohol and drugs during that time.

Fischer said his department will send postcards to Turner’s neighbors informing them that a convicted sex offender is moving in nearby. Turner will be required to register every three months in person at the sheriff’s office, reaffirming that he is still living with his parents, the sheriff said.

Deputies also will check on Turner periodically and without warning to ensure he has not moved out without permission from authorities.

Turner also is barred from parks, schools and other places where children are expected to gather.

“He will be treated no differently than any other sex offender we monitor,” Fischer said.

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