California Attorney General Kamala Harris said she is "very concerned" that the woman who was sexually assaulted by former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner "was not respected" during the legal process.
The six-month sentence handed down to Turner after he was convicted of three felonies for sexually assaulting the unconscious woman on campus after a fraternity party last year has sparked widespread outrage.
"The concern that I have in this case is that the victim's voice was not heard, it was not respected, and she was not given dignity in the process," Harris, California's highest ranking law enforcement official and frontrunner in the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat, told reporters Wednesday.
Turner had been facing up to 14 years in prison for the sexual assault, but Judge Aaron Persky handed him the six-month sentence instead, stating that anything longer could "severely impact" the swimmer's life.
Out of those six months, Turner could end up spending about three months behind bars with good behavior.
The victim in the case read a letter aloud during the trial, which was published in it's entirety by BuzzFeed News on Friday, prompting angry reactions from millions of people online.
The drastically reduced sentence has also drawn fierce criticism and support from celebrities and top elected officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, who called her "a warrior - with a solid steel spine."
On Wednesday, Harris added to the chorus while also taking aim at the reduced jail time.
"When someone is facing a 14-year (sentence), which I believe was the exposure in this case, there' s got to be extraordinary mitigating facts to reduce it down to what I believe ended up being six months," Harris said. "I don't know if the facts actually merit that kind of mitigation."
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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