Image for Good English Drummer Who Penned Letter In Support Of Stanford Rapist Speaks OutImage Via Twitter / Northside Festival

Good English Drummer Who Penned Letter In Support Of Stanford Rapist Speaks Out

Written by Tom Williams on June 8, 2016

Leslie Rasmussen, the 20-year-old drummer of Ohio band Good English who wrote a letter in support of convicted Stanford University rapist Brock Turner, has spoken out online in an attempt to clarify her comments, which have seen her band dropped from upcoming shows, including New York’s Northside Festival.

In a since-deleted statement posted to Facebook (via The Music Network), Rasmussen (pictured above lying down) defends the character statement she wrote about her “classmate and friend” Turner, which was used in his recent trial.

“Beyond sharing my personal experience with Brock, I made an appeal to the judge to consider the effect that alcohol played in this tragedy,” Ms Rasmussen says.

“I understand that this appeal has now provided an opportunity for people to misconstrue my ideas into a distortion that suggests I sympathize with sex offenses and those who commit them or that I blame the victim involved.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I apologize for anything my statement has done to suggest that I don’t feel enormous sympathy for the victim and her suffering.”

Ms Rasmussen says that as a young female musician who has been performing for over 10 years, she has witnessed “American drinking culture and the problems that invariably arise through alcohol misuse”.

“I have made these observations through sober eyes,” she says. “I have been repeatedly reminded by my family and coached by police to hold my personal sobriety closely and seriously because of the industry I work in and the risks to my own life that I could face as a young woman playing regularly in venues across the country where alcohol is served.”

Ms Rasmussen, who lives in a university town which is “affected every year by the tragic consequences resulting from undergraduate students’ excessive enthusiasm for binge drinking”, believes her choice to describe Turner’s character to a judge “as the sober person [she] knew him to be” wasn’t an irresponsible decision.

“Unfortunately, due to the overzealous nature of social media and the lack of confidence and privacy in which my letter to the judge was held, I am now thrust into the public eye to defend my position on this matter in the court of public opinion,” she says.

“Now, my choices to defer college to write and play music, to finally introduce 10 years of hard work to a national audience while working consistently and intentionally on my own personal and professional integrity, has led to an uproar of judgement and hatred unleashed on me, my band and my family.

“I know that Brock Turner was tried and rightfully convicted of sexual assault. I realize that this crime caused enormous pain for the victim. I don’t condone, support, or sympathize with the offense or the offender. I was asked by a court in California to provide a character statement as a standard and necessary part of the sentencing process.

“I believe that Brock’s character was seriously affected by the alcohol he consumed, and I felt that the court needed to consider this issue during their sentencing deliberations.”

Ms Rasmussen’s full statement can be read below.

In her original character reference about Turner, Ms Rasmussen described him as a “good kid”, a “sweetheart”, and “not a monster”, and suggested that she doesn’t believe Turner is a rapist because his victim wasn’t “getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot”.

“That is a rapist,” she wrote. “These are not rapists. These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgement.”

Turner has been sentenced to six months jail for raping an unconscious 22-year-old woman, leaving many people outraged at the relatively lenient prison sentence.

Ms Rasmussen’s original character reference regarding Brock Turner can be read here.

Leslie Rasmussen Statement RE Brock Turner Character Statement

Two months ago, I was asked to write a character statement for use in the sentencing phase of Brock Turner’s trial. Per the request of the court, I was asked to write this statement in an effort to shed light on Brock’s character as I knew it to be during my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood when I interacted with him as a classmate and friend. I felt confident in my ability to share my straightforward opinion of him and how I knew him. I also felt compelled to share my deep concern over the misuse of alcohol that was a well-established contributor in this case. Beyond sharing my personal experience with Brock, I made an appeal to the judge to consider the effect that alcohol played in this tragedy.

I understand that this appeal has now provided an opportunity for people to misconstrue my ideas into a distortion that suggests I sympathize with sex offenses and those who commit them or that I blame the victim involved. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I apologize for anything my statement has done to suggest that I don’t feel enormous sympathy for the victim and her suffering.

Perhaps I should have included in my statement the following ideas that explain my perspective on the complexities of what may have happened. As a young female musician who has spent years (since I was in fourth grade) performing as a drummer in live music venues, clubs, and bars with my two sisters, I have had the unique opportunity to observe over 10 years of public American drinking culture and the problems that invariably arise through alcohol misuse. I have watched friends, acquaintances and complete strangers transform before my eyes over the course of sometimes very short periods of time, into people I could barely recognize as a result of alcohol over-consumption. I am currently 20 years old. I have made these observations through sober eyes. I have been repeatedly reminded by my family and coached by police to hold my personal sobriety closely and seriously because of the industry I work in and the risks to my own life that I could face as a young woman playing regularly in venues across the country where alcohol is served.

Additionally, I have grown up and currently reside in a university town that is affected every year by the tragic consequences resulting from undergraduate students’ excessive enthusiasm for binge drinking. Student arrests, violence, injuries, and sexual assaults occur with some regularity, and I have often wondered why this culture continues to thrive seemingly unquestioned and unchecked.

There is nothing more sad than the unnecessary, destructive and enormous toll that overuse, misuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs play in people’s lives, and I don’t think my effort to point this out in confidence to a judge while commenting on Brock Turner’s character, as the sober person I knew him to be, was an irresponsible or reckless decision. Unfortunately, due to the overzealous nature of social media and the lack of confidence and privacy in which my letter to the judge was held, I am now thrust into the public eye to defend my position on this matter in the court of public opinion. Now, my choices to defer college to write and play music, to finally introduce 10 years of hard work to a national audience while working consistently and intentionally on my own personal and professional integrity, has led to an uproar of judgement and hatred unleashed on me, my band and my family.

I know that Brock Turner was tried and rightfully convicted of sexual assault. I realize that this crime caused enormous pain for the victim. I don’t condone, support, or sympathize with the offense or the offender. I was asked by a court in California to provide a character statement as a standard and necessary part of the sentencing process. I believe that Brock’s character was seriously affected by the alcohol he consumed, and I felt that the court needed to consider this issue during their sentencing deliberations.

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