Dear Mr. Turner,
Your son got off easy.
You know what he did in January of last year. You know why he’s sitting inside of a courthouse instead of his dorm room. You know why you’re paying thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars on an attorney. You know why you are here.
I’m doing my best to see this situation from your perspective. I’m not a father, so I won’t pretend to understand what you are going through. I am a son, however, so let me try to understand this through Brock’s eyes instead of my own.
I’m imagining that it’s after midnight. I’m pinned to the ground, handcuffs around my wrists, confused, panicked, about to be taken in by the police. I’m afraid.
I’m behind a set of bars. I’m released to your face, maybe someone else’s. Regardless of whether you think I did it or not, I know you’re afraid too. As a man who’s cared for me and loved me all of my life, I’m ashamed of the pain I’ve brought to you. We both know the worst is yet to come.
I’m being charged with three counts of sexual assault. I’m in the courtroom, still confused, still scared, still uncertain of my future. You hired the best attorney and investigators you could to get me back to my normal life.
You don’t see yourself as trying to protect a criminal. You’re just trying to protect your son.
I understand your fear, love, and concern for your son. Truly, I do. My own father has gone to bat for me numerous times when I was clearly in the wrong. He does this time and time again because he loves me. I understand and empathize with that love very much. After all, it’s only a parent’s nature to want to defend their child.
Brock, however, isn’t your son in the courtroom. As of last Thursday, he’s a sex offender.
Many people believe Brock was given a light sentence. He potentially faced 14 years in federal prison. He ended up getting six months in county jail. People are mad because even though you and your family are suffering, everyone knows his victim’s family is suffering even worse. They are equally confused, afraid, concerned, and heartbroken for their child. Many say she didn’t get the justice that she deserved.
And yet, through all of this, you still think your son is the victim. In a letter you wrote to the judge, you said that incarceration was not “the appropriate punishment” for Brock. That this has affected his life, mood, eating habits, personality, and his well-being negatively. That by registering as a sex offender, it changes how he can work, live, and socialize. That he should not have to suffer more than 20 years for 20 minutes of “action.”
I wonder if you ever thought about if your were the father on the other side of the case? Would you still say that jail was not the appropriate punishment? That he didn’t deserve to have this affect his life? That he shouldn’t have to register as a sex offender? That he shouldn’t have to suffer for what he did?
I don’t have to tell you the answer. You already know the answer. You would defend your child, no matter what position they were in. Your son caused an entire family to hurt, but you can at least defend him knowing that he wasn’t the victim. How do you think you would handle it if it were the other way around?
Mr. Turner, the court system is not the problem. The ruling is not the problem. You are the problem. You think you’re just protecting your child, but all you’re doing is protecting a criminal. Ignorance is root of these issues, sir. Ignorance is what allows 97 out of 100 rapists to get out of punishment. Ignorance is what silences the voices of sexual assault victims. Ignorance is what good people use to forget about bad actions.
Remember that as you experience your son’s pain and reflect on what his victim’s family is going through.
David A. Dunn.