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The Rosen Blog

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Join DA Rosen and Sharon Stone

Leo Briones

I am excited to share with everyone that this Friday, my office will be sponsoring a Campus Sexual Assault Symposium at Santa Clara University. 

The symposium will feature a special reading of excerpts of Emily Doe’s Letter by actress and activist Sharon Stone. Additionally, Primetime Justice host Ashleigh Banfield will moderate a hypothetical case analysis of a campus sexual assault case.

We will also be joined by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, sexual assault survivor and activist Kamilah Willingham, and activist & writer Kevin Powell.

We thank Santa Clara University President Michael Engh for graciously hosting the event.

(Click here for symposium times and agenda) 

Curious about criminal justice issues? Ask D.A. Jeff Rosen.

Leo Briones

An open dialogue with D.A. Jeff Rosen

Santa Clara County, California and our nation have reached a critical juncture in our efforts to end mass incarceration and at the same time enhance public safety. 

Criminal justice reform is one of many issues affecting public safety that is worthy of a public dialogue. 

I have decided to start a social networking effort called, "Ask the D.A."  The program is simple. You can ask me questions by either posting them here, sending an Instant Message (IM), or emailing your questions to jeff@jeffrosen.org.  Then, I will post my answers to your questions here. 

You are welcome to ask me any questions you'd like, but I will not be able to answer questions concerning active prosecutions or non public information about any prosecution. You can either use your name or ask the question anonymously.  However, please include the city or neighborhood where you live so that I can post that information, along with your question and my answer.     

As your District Attorney, I look forward to creating a dialogue with you, the people I serve, so ask away.

Sincerely,  

District Attorney Jeff Rosen 

 

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My letter to Emily Doe from Kristyn Blue

Leo Briones

Dear Emily Doe,

My name is Kristyn Blue and I wanted to let you know that the word "victim" does not apply to you or anyone. You are a warrior and you stand strong for all of us.

Like many people, I read your impact statement and you are empowering many women and young girls to heal their pain by sharing their stories.

Emily, I'm a two-time survivor of sexual assault and rape. Back in 2010, I was sixteen years old and raped by a member of my father's family. The attacks happened in San Francisco and lasted a total of three days. That was a week before my Junior Prom. I had physical bruises but the psychological bruise of having my virginity taken from me was worse. I gave no man consent to have sex with me.

I remained quiet out of fear and shame. Fortunately, my English teacher at Mount Pleasant High School noticed something different about me. I broke down in front of her and told her that, "Yes you're right. I am not okay." She gave me the courage to report my rape to the San Jose Police Department. I spent four hours explaining my story to San Jose Police Detectives. Finally, they sent me to Valley Medical for a SART exam.

Ultimately, the incident was classified as "Statutory Rape." My abuser received a sixteen month sentenced–what joke!  When I heard that sentence I felt that the attorneys or judge must believe that my life and my dignity did not matter. So, Emily I relate perfectly to your outrage at the sentence Brock Turner received–it too is a joke!

Everyone gets to live their lives everyday while I have to live in a mindset of thinking, "will this ever happen to me?, Are all men this way?, Can I trust anyone?"

I struggled with valuing myself and having self-esteem issues about my body. I blamed myself for having large breasts and being too curvy.

That terrible sentence, in San Francisco, gave me the motivation to want to pursue a career in law enforcement, which is why I am studying Criminal Justice at San Jose State University. I've chosen to make a negative a positive.

My second case took place in San Jose two years ago. I was off work and my boyfriend at the time was late picking me. I figured I lived only ten minutes down the street, so I was safe. As I walked under the 680 overpass I was attacked. He threw me to the ground. He was much stronger than me, so there wasn't much I could do to stop him. But I kept trying and praying for God's help. Finally, I was able to pry myself free for a short second. I ran into the middle of the street as cars sped by. Then a complete stranger can to my rescue. He helped me call 911 and stayed with me until officers from the San Jose Police Department arrived. I was so relieved. Thank God for that brave young man. He's my hero.

A few days later, I got the chance to be assigned an advocate from the YWCA.  She was great and I feel she's more my friend than just someone assigned to me. She told me about another survivor who was also attacked in the area. I knew I was not alone.  We could both move forward and seek justice.

Still, the efforts to secure justice and punish the perpetrator were not easy.

My case took over two and a half years. The perpetrator actually thought he would be exonerated. Perhaps he believed he could intimidate me into dropping charges? I don't know. He took the case to trial and lost. He received a 35 years to life sentence. Unlike, my case in San Francisco this time justice was met.

I give a lot of kudos and respect to the prosecutor for the District Attorney's office.

She was awesome. She was determined to ensure the rapist would never would never hurt anyone again. Before the trial I was skeptical because of my experience in my earlier case. I thank the DA's Office for restoring my faith in the system.

My rapist's name was Milton G. Meza. In court, I read my impact statement with my graduate cap and dress on. I wanted him to know his action did not stop my life. I was graduating San Jose City College and he had no control over me.

Thanks to his conviction, I got closure. But something else happened. I gained the strength to become an advocate. I began to encourage survivors to come forward and confront the ones that hurt them.  I have used social media as a tool and it's worked. In the last year, so many brave women have opened up and come forward and tell me their past experiences of being molested, abused or raped.  

Also, the YWCA has opened so many doors for me and can open doors for you. Back in October, I got awarded the Empowerment Award from YWCA and got recognized for telling my story in front of 1,300 people along with making the front page of San Jose Mercury News.

Emily you are already an empowering women. I hope you someday see the need to come forward and tell your story openly. I understand the necessity for privacy and I extend only understanding and not an ounce of judgment. But you are a powerful voice for all of us and you could be so much more if you decided to join us survivors in telling our stories openly and boldly.

We are survivors and not victims. We need to stand before the Brock Allen Turner's and Milton G. Meza's of the world and let them know that they will never get away with their abuse and we are standing strong to stop them.

Thank you Emily. You are beautiful and strong. 

My letter to Emily Doe. Christina from Canada.

Leo Briones

Dear Emily Doe,

I read your statement, all the way through, so your voice would grow with power. You are a strong woman and in your court statement, you unabashedly refused to skirt around the stark language and details of your experiences being raped and going through the justice system.

It was that straight-forward non-sensational language where you gave power and dignity to many who have been in your shoes and many more who, sadly, will be, because you made sure no one could turn a blind eye to the actual experiences one woman who has been raped and the proceeding and excruciating aftermath.

You have broadened my understanding of the experiences that others face as well as the exact color of the social battle we still have to fight. But you are doing a great service to society, by helping to fasten a tide that is beginning to turn. You are a true trail-blazer, in my books. And I have the utmost respect for you.

I am also one more person out there, looking for your lighthouse light and letting its knowledge shine on me, however briefly.

With you in sisterhood,

Christina Canada

The "Emily Doe" Case. Let's make sunshine from mud.

Leo Briones

Over the years, I have prosecuted some difficult cases from murders for hire to sexual assaults on children. As prosecutors, we often are forced to face the depravity of which human beings are capable. Even in that context, the case of "Emily Doe" is one of toughest I have ever experienced. 

As you know, I asked for a six year prison sentence.  Unfortunately, the judge gave Defendant Turner a lenient sentence of six months in the county jail.  I strongly disagree with that ruling and have publicly stated that:  

 
The punishment does not fit the crime. This predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth.
— District Attorney, Jeff Rosen
 

 

Still, there is a lot we can do to join "Emily Doe" in fighting back against her assailant and bringing awareness to the issue of campus sexual assaults. 

First, the District Attorney's Office is currently working with Santa Clara County's colleges and universities, including: San Jose State, Santa Clara and Stanford to begin a dialogue on campus sexual assault. Our goals are to create and implement education programs about campus sexual assault, including what constitutes sexual assault, what is consent, how to report a sexual assault and the legal consequences of committing a sexual assault. Additionally, we will enhance access to medical and psychological services for sexual assault victims.  Lastly, we will work toward creating a culture of upstanders and bystanders who intervene when someone is too intoxicated to give consent or protect themselves.

Second, we are asking people to write a letter to "Emily Doe" and share their feelings and stories about how Emily's case helped give them or a loved one the courage to stand up to sexual assault, wherever it was committed.

Emily Doe is a wonderful and courageous person.  One day in the future, history books will record that her case and her letter helped end the permissive attitude toward campus sexual assault.  You can all join Emily by speaking up and telling your stories as well. 

Thank you,

Jeff Rosen