We the people would like to petition that Judge Aaron Persky be removed from his Judicial position for the lenient sentence in the Brock Turner rape case. Despite a unanimous guilty verdict, three felony convictions, the objections of 250 Stanford students, and the defendant being likened to " a predator searching for prey"; Judge Persky allowed the lenient sentence suggested by the probation department. Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency. He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors. Please send a message that rape by any person is a heinous crime deserving of harsh punishment.
Response to Petition
We do want to share, however, some of the broad work the Administration is doing to help address the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. From the beginning of his administration, the President has been committed to combating violence against women and girls and ending sexual assault on campuses.
As the President has said:
"Anyone can be a leader in the fight to prevent and end sexual assault. As employers, educators, parents, and friends, all Americans have an obligation to uphold the basic principle that every individual should be free from violence and fear...
We recommit to embracing each of our individual responsibilities to keep our communities safe...and to stand with survivors and victims of sexual assault."
But let's go back a bit further. In April of 2011, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued guidance reinforcing that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 -- which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs that receive federal funding -- requires schools to have in place effective responses to prevent sexual assault, as well as support for victims. A Dear Colleague Letter issued by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in ED said that "the sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students' right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime."
Schools are expected to eliminate any harassment, publish a notice of nondiscrimination, train employees for proper response, adopt grievance procedures, and protect the complainant.
Over the course of the Administration, the President and Vice President have continued the fight against sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
In 2014, the Administration launched the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, offering recommendations for how we can all contribute to a society that works to prevent and adequately respond to sexual assault. The Task Force has since delivered best practices, policy guidance, and stepped up enforcement efforts.
A few months later OCR released a list of the higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints, in order to bring more transparency to federal enforcement efforts. Schools that violate Title IX and refuse to address the problems identified by OCR can lose federal funding or be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further action.
Later that year, the President and Vice President also launched the It's On Us" initiative to drive awareness and help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. This campaign asks each and every one of us to make a personal commitment to be part of the solution to this plague on college campuses.
There is so much more work to be done, and we all have a responsibility to step up.
Thanks again for raising your voices.