University of Colorado-Boulder student Austin Wilkerson escaped life behind bars after a judge sentenced him to 20 years probation for raping a girl who got drunk at a party and fell in and out of consciousness. Judge Patrick Butler said he “struggled” with his decision to instead give the 22 year old two years on work release.
“I’ve struggled, to be quite frank, with the idea of, ‘Do I put him in prison?’” said Judge Patrick Butler, according to the Daily Camera newspaper. “I don’t know that there is any great result for anybody. Mr. Wilkerson deserves to be punished, but I think we all need to find out whether he truly can or cannot be rehabilitated.”
The slap on the wrist echoes of the six-month jail sentence handed down to Brock Turner in June. The former Stanford University swimmer who escaped jail time for also sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
Wilkerson supporters and family members said the incident in question was traumatic for him as well. They went as far as to ask the judge to consider Wilkerson’s future stating “he will go far in this world if not defined by this one incident.”
The victim drank too much on St. Patrick’s Day. Wilkerson told the victim’s friends he’d take care of her, but instead assaulted her. According to police reports Wilkerson admitted to making advances but the victim refused him each time, which angered Wilkerson and called her a ‘f**king b*tch.”
Wilkerson alleged the sex was consensual and his defense argued the victim filed a rape claim to cover up the drop in her grades.