Stanford professor in recall effort receives rape threat

2018-02-15 22:08
Stanford law professor Michele Dauber speaks at a rally before activists delivered over one million signatures to the California Commission on Judicial Performance calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky from the bench in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg, AP, File)

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber speaks at a rally before activists delivered over one million signatures to the California Commission on Judicial Performance calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky from the bench in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg, AP, File)

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San Francisco – A Stanford University law professor who is leading an effort to recall a judge over his handling of a high-profile sexual assault case received an envelope on Wednesday containing white powder and a rape threat.

Emergency personnel shut two rooms at the law school while they tested the substance and ultimately determined it was a harmless "inert powder", the university said in a statement.

The professor targeted in the threat, Michele Dauber, told The Associated Press the envelope was disguised as a party invitation. Dauber is leading an effort to recall Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.

Persky was criticised in 2016 after he sentenced former swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a trash bin on campus near a fraternity house.

Dauber said the letter she received on Wednesday said: "Since you are going to disrobe Persky, I am going to treat you like 'Emily Doe.' Let's see what kind of sentencing I get for being a rich white male."

'Will not back down

The woman who was sexually assaulted in 2016 was known as Emily Doe to protect her identity.

Prosecutors had recommended a much longer sentence for Turner, but the judge has said it's his job to consider lighter sentences for first offenders and that he cannot allow public opinion to factor in his decisions.

Dauber said she has received threatening letters before and will not back down from her campaign to remove Persky.

"The recall campaign is not going to be intimidated and we are going to continue to stand with survivors" of sexual assault, she said.

In its statement, the university said officials are deeply concerned by the threat to a faculty member.

"Threats intended to silence or intimidate members of our community are absolutely unacceptable," Provost Persis Drell said in the statement.

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