Another campus sexual assault has sparked outrage after 22-year-old University of Colorado student Austin James Wilkerson was sentenced to just two years of work-release and probation after assaulting a drunk classmate. He was facing up to 20 years in prison for the crime, but got away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Wilkerson was charged with assaulting an intoxicated student under the guise of lending her a hand, much like Turner. For that, he'll be sleeping in a jail cell instead of a dorm room, but will be able to leave during the day for work or school.
Judge Patrick Butler sentenced Wilkerson to the extremely light sentence because he believed Wilkerson — wait for it — showed remorse for his crime. He told The Daily Camera, "I've struggled, to be quite frank, with the idea of, 'Do I put him in prison?'" Adding, "Mr. Wilkerson deserves to be punished, but I think we all need to find out whether he truly can or cannot be rehabilitated."
Butler's sentencing flew in the face of the defense attorney's request for Wilkerson to be sentenced from four to 20 years.
Local organizations have responded with anger over the sentencing. Brie Franklin, executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault said, "We are disappointed to see, yet again, that the impact on the perpetrator, who chose to commit a crime against another person, is being considered over the impact on the victim, who did not have a choice in the matter."
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Saccomano echoed that belief. "Our contention is that rapists should go to prison. It's a serious crime that deserves a serious punishment," she said.
Many have taken to Twitter to express their anger over the shockingly light sentence.
Austin Wilkerson and Brock Turner are rapists. Judges Aaron Persky and Patrick Butler are their enablers— Danai (@LadyDMash) August 12, 2016
His name is Austin James Wilkerson and he got away with rape.— juliesioux (@jm_sioux) August 11, 2016
Remember his face and name. https://t.co/dhxeXpD904
1/I am disgusted that Judge Patrick Butler gave 2 yrs work release and 20 years probabation to rapist Austin Wilkerson. @GovofCO— Pamela Clare (@Pamela_Clare) August 11, 2016
Clearly, the justice system failed on this one.
(Photo: Boulder Police)
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