Ex-Colorado U Student Spared Prison for Rape
Prosecutors wanted him to serve up to 12 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2016 1:22 AM CDT
Updated Aug 11, 2016 6:03 AM CDT
Austin Wilkerson.   (Office of the District Attorney, Boulder, Colorado)

(Newser) – A rape case in Colorado has strong echoes of the Brock Turner case at Stanford in the defendant's behavior, the victim's powerful statement—and the controversial light sentence. Former University of Colorado student Austin James Wilkerson, 22, was spared a sentence in state prison Wednesday after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an intoxicated female student after a St. Patrick's Day party in 2014, the Guardian reports. Instead, Wilkerson—who told the freshman student's friends that he was going to look after her—will be on probation for 20 years to life and will serve two years in the county jail under a work-release program that will allow him to leave jail for school or work every day.

Prosecutors—who said Wilkerson "raped a helpless young woman after duping the people around her into believing he was going to care for her"—wanted prison, but the judge used his discretion to give him a sentence lighter than the four to 12 years in state prison the charge usually carries, the Daily Camera reports. His victim told the court that she still suffers from nightmares and panic attacks. "Worst of all is the victim blaming," she said. "'If I hadn't been drunk, this wouldn't have happened. If I hadn't gotten separated, this wouldn't have happened.' Yet it was excusable for him to rape me because he was drunk?" She implored the the judge to "have as much mercy for the rapist as he did for me that night." (Read the statement by the victim in the Brock Turner case here.)