CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield Gets Emotional Reading Sex Assault Victim’s Letter On-Air

In a very rare move, CNN host Ashleigh Banfield spent over half her show on Monday reading most of  a sexual assault victim impact statement on-air.  At times, the Legal View anchor was overcome with emotion reading the lengthy letter, which recounted the victim’s painful and life-changing experience.

Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, 20, was convicted by a jury earlier this year of three felonies for sexually assaulting a woman outside a fraternity party in 2015.  The woman was found behind a dumpster with her dress pulled up, and her underwear removed. Turner was sentenced last week to six months in county jail and three years’ probation by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.

During the sentencing hearing, the victim read a powerful statement to the court about what the experience did to her.  She described the hardship she endured, and how she first learned about what happened to her by reading the news.

“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today,” she said.

WATCH CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield reads statement:

Here is a excerpt from the powerful victim impact statement:

One day, I was at work, scrolling through the news on my phone, and came across an article. In it, I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize. This was how I learned what happened to me, sitting at my desk reading the news at work. I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned what happened to me.

WATCH CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield reads statement (clip 2):


Judge Persky has come under fire  since handing down what some call a light sentence. The full version of the letter is available here.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version said that Banfield read the entire statement. She read a good portion of the roughly 7,157 word statement, but not the entire statement.

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