A California bill that requires a prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) desk, after the California Assembly approved it on Monday by a vote of 66-0.
Under the state's current law, a prison sentence is imposed when physical force is used during the rape, which is often not the case when a victim is intoxicated or unconscious. "Sexually assaulting an unconscious person or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that," said Assemblyman Bill Dodd (D), an author of the bill. "Letting felons convicted of such crimes get off with probation discourages other survivors from coming forward and sends the message that raping incapacitated victims is no big deal."
The vote comes after a former Stanford student, Brock Turner, was sentenced in June to six months in jail and three years probation after being convicted of three felony counts of sexually assaulting an intoxicated and unconscious woman outside a party. Prosecutors were asking for a sentence of six years in prison. There was widespread condemnation of the judge in the case, Aaron Persky, and a campaign to recall him has more than one million signatures, NPR reports. Turner is set to be released on Friday, several months early, due to good behavior.