SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Brock Turner, the former Stanford University student whose light sentence for a campus sexual assault ignited a national furor, was released from jail on Friday (Sept 2) after serving three months of a six-month sentence.
TV news cameras caught the 21-year-old former swimmer as he left the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, California, and quickly drove away in a car without commenting.
Turner was convicted in March of three counts of sexual assault after being caught raping an intoxicated and unconscious 22-year-old woman behind a dumpster at a fraternity house.
He was released early from jail for good behaviour while incarcerated.
Judge Aaron Persky set off a storm of outrage in June when he sentenced Turner to only six months in prison, followed by three years' probation, setting aside prosecutors' call for a six-year prison term.
Judge Persky, who had also been a student at Stanford, now faces a recall campaign and has removed himself from hearing criminal cases.
The case threw a spotlight on the problem of rape and sexual assault on US college campuses, amid criticism that handling of these cases is often lax and has given rise to a climate of impunity.
Turner's victim, identified as "Emily Doe", made a powerful statement at his sentencing that drew international attention.
"You don't know me, but you've been inside me, and that's why we're here today," she told her attacker in the statement read in court. "You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."
A letter to the court by Turner's father, stating that the blond, blue-eyed athlete did not deserve to be jailed for "20 minutes of action", further stoked the debate.
The woman was rescued from her attacker by two international students from Sweden.