Well-connected teen back in custody after being let off easy for rape
Police car lights (Shutterstock)

On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Bowen Turner, an Orangeburg, South Carolina teenager whose unusually light sentence for rape caused outrage, is back in police custody following an alleged disorderly conduct incident at a bar.

"Bowen Turner, 19, was taken into custody Sunday by the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, according to court records. He was charged with one count of public disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor," said the report, noting Turner also told a deputy he'd "bite [his] f**king finger off" if made to wear a mask. "The incident ... involved Turner’s alleged overconsumption of alcohol at an area bar. This, according to attorney Sarah Ford, who represents the families of two of Turner’s alleged victims, not only contravenes laws against underage drinking but almost certainly constitutes a serious violation of Turner’s admittedly light punishment."

As the report noted, Turner — whose father is employed by a local prosecutor — has escaped meaningful punishment for serious crimes.

"Turner has been accused of raping three teenagers in three counties over two years, but has only been tried for one," said the report. "In one case, Turner allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl at a party in October 2018, six months after he was accused of rape by another teen. Turner was arrested in January 2019 and released on $10,000 bond. While he was under house arrest and awaiting trial, Turner left home more than 50 times to, among other things, play golf, go shopping at a car dealership out of state, and eat at a Columbia steakhouse."

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"In June 2019, while that case was pending, Turner — whose lawyers had convinced the judge to remove the teen’s ankle monitor — was arrested and charged with dragging a 16-year-old minister’s daughter behind a truck and raping her," said the report. "In November 2021, Turner’s 17-year-old accuser died from a self-inflicted injury and prosecutors dropped the case. The April 2018 case remains under investigation."

Turner was represented at trial by South Carolina Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto, who heavily blamed the victim. Judge Markley Dennis allowed Turner to plead down to first-degree assault and battery, issuing a suspended sentence and giving Turner only five years' probation under the Youthful Offender Act.

Turner has been denied bond for the new charges.

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