A Letter to Dan Turner

I wrote this letter in response to a letter Dan Turner wrote, during the People v. Turner trial in March of 2016, to garner some sympathy for his son.


Mr. Turner,

As it stands now, and as it will stand forever because this is the truth – your son Brock raped a woman on the night of January 17th.

The worry, anxiety, fear, and depression your son is experiencing every waking moment can not even compare to the worry, anxiety, fear, and depression of the woman he fondled and raped on the ground behind a dumpster.

In fact, Mr. Turner, what your son is feeling right now is quite in line with the feeling of guilt. But it doesn’t seem like he feels guilty about the rape. No, he seems more guilty about the fact that he, a golden boy, was caught in a criminal act. A heinous criminal act. The inexcusable, dehumanizing criminal act of rape.

Your son’s actions turned a woman into nothing but an orifice and turned himself into nothing but a lowly animal. And all you can talk about is his appetite? His lack of eating your delicious steak? The fact that he no longer has the drive to “Gordon Ramsay” it up with you in the kitchen? You offer no apology to the parents or the woman your son committed criminal acts against?

I’m not a parent, Mr. Turner. I never plan on becoming a parent. But I do have two parents that have taught me very well and if I were their son and I was guilty of rape, I’m not sure if my parents would be able to look at me again. Because they, unlike you, sir, understand the gravity of rape.

To reduce your son’s criminal behavior to a time window – “20 minutes of action”– smacks of ignorance and is quite honestly, insolent.

If a gunman comes into a building and shoots and kills for 20 minutes, would you still call him a murderer? Would you feel outrage at a public letter from his father lamenting the fact that he can’t eat his favorite steaks? Would your blood boil as you read his father describing his act as a mere “20 minutes of action”? I don’t know you, I don’t wish to know you, but I assume that you would feel just as disgusted as anyone.

So “20 minutes of action”? Did you give your son a pat on the back? Because hey, you know – at least he’s getting some action. Can’t have a golden boy’s crown complete without some good old sex.

Only this wasn’t sex.

You bemoan the fact that your son has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life, as if his swim records can just wash away part of his crime and leave the “he had to go to jail for a little bit” part.

Sir, I would like to call your attention to a key fact that you (or the judge) do not seem to realize about your son, but the rest of America does.

Mr. Dan A. Turner, your son, Brock Turner, is a rapist because your son raped. Mr. Dan A. Turner, your son, Brock Turner, is a sexual offender because your son committed a sexual offense. Your son needs no prior criminal history to become a rapist. Rape is not a four-year degree program.

You try to make it seem that by being his father you are allowed to make a judgement call in your son’s case, but sir, in fact, it would’ve been better had you recused yourself because your son, the fruit of your loins, has made the worst, most heinous judgement call one could possibly make.

And for that, your son deserves incarceration. Because rape is a criminal offense. Because too many college-aged women and men have walked out of a courtroom with the darkest cloud over their head knowing that their rapist is going free because the court and others around it took the same attitude of “20 minutes of action” and “sexual promiscuity” that you have.

Your son is in college, Mr. Turner. He is an adult. And when adults do horrible things, there are adult consequences.

I would like to close out this letter to you by addressing the survivor and her family:

I don’t know who you are, but I know what was done to you and that is not what you are. You are a beautiful, strong woman and in the moments when you feel ugly and weak, know there are so many people who support you and stand by you. You have a much bigger support family than you think or you could ever know and I and many others believe you and admire your courage, your eloquence, and your strength.

Mr. Dan A. Turner, I extend no sympathy or empathy to you or your son on my behalf or the behalf of those for whom I speak but I am deeply saddened and disgusted by the crime your son has committed.

Very Respectfully,

Micaela B. Harp

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