Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman near a dumpster after leaving a fraternity party at Stanford University in early 2015. The woman, who chose to remain anonymous and was referred to "Jane Doe" throughout the case, was half-naked and unconscious during the assault.
Two Swedish graduate students saw Turner attacking Doe and stopped him. When she woke up in the hospital, there were abrasions, lacerations, and dirt in her genitalia and both her hands and arms were bloody.
Turner was convicted in 2016 of three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. Judge Aaron Persky gave him a mere six-month sentence, sparking national outrage. Turner ended up serving just three months in jail. He was also required to register as a sexual offender for life, which is why he filed an appeal last December.
In an effort to challenge the charge of "assault with intent to commit rape," Turner's lawyer Eric Multhaup argued that the former swimmer only wanted to have "sexual outercourse" — i.e. sexual contact while fully clothed — and that he didn't want to rape Jane Doe. The attorney even called it a version of "safe sex." (After Turner's conviction, the state of California expanded the definition of "rape" to include every form of sexual assault, other than non-consensual penetration.)
"Defendant contends evidence that he was fully clothed and engaged in forms of sexual conduct other than intercourse — namely, “fingering” and “dry humping” — negate an inference of intent to rape. We are not persuaded," the court said. "While it is true that defendant did not expose himself, he was interrupted."
It continued: "Jurors reasonably could have inferred from the evidence described above that, if the graduate students had not stopped defendant, he would have exposed himself and raped [Jane Doe.]"