The infuriating case of Brock Turner — a 19-year-old sentenced to just six months in jail despite sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a Stanford University frat party — sparked national outcry. A Change.org petition to remove the presiding judge, Aaron Persky, exceeded 1,200,000 signatures in a matter of days, in addition to calls for new legislation to change the way California defines rape and sexual assault.
But history has once again repeated itself in the most devastating way.
On Wednesday, August 10, a Boulder County jury convicted Austin James Wilkerson, a 22-year-old University of Colorado at Boulder student, of raping an unconscious woman he'd been pretending to care for while she was inebriated.
Despite this, presiding judge Patrick Butler sentenced Wilkerson to 20 years to life on probation. He will need to abide by any rules set by his probation officer, but will still technically be "free" — the judge sentenced him to a two-year work-release program that allows him to work or go to school during the day.
Colorado's own justice department website states that offenders of "petty" crimes usually qualify for this type of sentencing.
"I sexually assaulted [the victim]," Wilkerson told the court. "No words I can say could ever take away the pain and fear that I have caused. Nothing I say can make it better, but I am so sorry."
While his tone may have appeared apologetic in court, his words and actions were notably different the night of the assault: according to court documents obtained by The Huffington Post, Wilkerson admitted to calling the victim a "fucking bitch" after she'd rejected his advances earlier in the night, adding he was "pissed" that she rebuffed him.
Wilkerson then said he'd take care of the victim after she was in an inebriated state, but raped her instead.
The 22-year-old was convicted on a class 3 sexual assault felony charge, which, according to Colorado state law, means he could have had to serve an "indeterminate sentencing."
Judge Butler, whose logic is eerily reminiscent of Judge Persky's, said the harsh sentencing would be too much for Wilkerson to bear.
“I’ve struggled, to be quite frank, with the idea of, ‘Do I put him in prison?’” Butler told the Daily Camera. “I don’t know that there is any great result for anybody. Mr. Wilkerson deserves to be punished, but I think we all need to find out whether he truly can or cannot be rehabilitated."
Sexual assault advocacy groups are heartbroken for the victim, and devastated for this failure to serve justice — again.
"He definitely, in our opinion, and as we argued to the court throughout the process, has given whatever version of the story is best going to serve him," Lisa Saccomano, a Boulder County Deputy District attorneys who prosecuted the case, told ABC 7. "We’re obviously disappointed by the sentence that was imposed."
Sadly, Wilkerson is part of the measly 3 out of 100 rapists who receive some form of punishment, though it's hard to say if justice was served.