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Lawyers for Brock Turner, the convicted rapist who served only half of his six-month jail sentence in 2016, argued to an appellate court on Tuesday that Turner had wanted “outercourse” with the woman he was found guilty of assaulting, not intercourse.
According to the Mercury News, Turner’s lawyer, Eric S. Multhaup, explained to the justices that outercourse is sexual contact while fully clothed, and said Turner had his clothes on when two Swedish students found him “making thrusting motions” atop the survivor. He “never intended” to rape the woman, Multhaup said, and said there wasn’t “sufficient evidence” for Turner to have been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The argument follows his legal team’s December filing to appeal Turner’s case, arguing that it was “fundamentally unfair.” In 2016, Turner was found guilty on three counts, and required to register as a sex offender in Ohio.
Across Twitter, critics of Turner’s lawyer’s new defense are baffled, wondering how such as justification as “he didn’t mean to” is supposed to obliterate a rape charge.
Is that a euphemism for dry humping? He committed sexual assault regardless of what he wanted . . . but "outercourse"?— Jane Hammons (@JHammons) July 25, 2018
Ah yes, good old fashion non-consensual outercourse... https://t.co/eWTQoHZVPn— Sierra (@gamblegobble) July 25, 2018
While some critics have expressed skepticism of the term “outercourse,” it is a real term, and is used to describe non-penetrative sex as a means of risking pregnancy (in heterosexual partners). Which, you know, also involves obtaining consent, because it is sex. So Turner having non-penetrative sex with someone who still couldn’t consent because she was intoxicated? It’s still rape.
What is outercourse??????— Mike Shook (@JmikeshookMike) July 25, 2018
Thaaaat’s reaching. What is outercourse?— Amanda Adams (@jajaamanda) July 25, 2018
The justices, too, were confused, telling Multhaup that they didn’t understand what he was talking about, and asking if he meant that the jury made “unreasonable inferences.”
“Yes! They filled in the blanks,” Multhaup responded.
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Assistant Attorney General Alisha Carlile, meanwhile, called Multhaup’s argument a “far-fetched version of events” that defied the case’s facts.
“Intent is rarely proved by direct evidence,” Justice Franklin D. Elia said. “You can’t surgically remove things and look at them separately.”
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.