Police investigating white substance, rape threat sent to Stanford law professor
STANFORD, Calif. (KTVU) - The divisive rhetoric surrounding whether to recall a sitting Santa Clara County judge because of a sentence he handed down has taken a turn for the worse. Wednesday, the chair of the Committee to Recall Persky, who’s also a Stanford law professor, opened mail that contained a white powder, and a note with a hate message. Michele Dauber says inflammatory language used by Persky supporters could be a catalyst for this type of crime.
“They have attacked me, personally, very harshly. And I think that unfortunately is having the effect of inspiring perhaps unbalanced individuals to engage in these kinds of threats,” said Dauber, standing outside the law school building.
Dauber says the crime happened as she pulled magazines and letters from her mailbox in the faculty law lounge, and was making tea. Her former student who was helping with the mail opened one of the letters.
“…She said, ‘yes but this one, the envelop has white powder in it.’ And at first It didn’t really register what she was telling me. And then I realized I needed to tell the authorities,” Dauber said.
Both women say they got the powder on their hands, causing concerns it was hazardous. So, they washed several times with soap at the sink, and called Stanford police. Santa Clara County haz-mat teams shut down two classrooms in the Law School, tested the powder, and examined the enclosed note which contained this threat: “Since you are going to disrobe Persky, I am going to treat you like ‘Emily Doe.’ Let’s see what kind of sentencing I get for being a rich white male.”
In a statement, school officials say, “…The inert powder…poses no health concern.”And that, “Threats intended to silence or intimidated members or our community are absolutely unacceptable…”
Judge Aaron Persky is facing a recall effort fueled by what some say was leniency in the sentencing of Brock Turner.
The registered sex offender, a former Stanford swimmer, got six months in jail for sexual assault, spending only half that time behind bars due to good behavior rules.
Late Wednesday, Persky’s attorney released a statement reading in part, “…Our approaches are clearly rooted in the law and justice. We do not support or condone violence or harassing threats…”
“I’m glad that she’s fine and we would not wish harm to anyone,” said Persky supporter and Santa Clara University law professor Margaret Russell.
She says the venom cited as a possible cause for this hate crime, can be attributed to Dauber and her recall supporters..
“It’s kind of an odd, Orwellian projection that she is accusing our side in engaging in this, when for over a year, she has been the only side engaging in that,” said Russell.
“I would just call on Persky campaign to stop using personal attacks,” countered Dauber, who says her office door is covered in hate mail sent by Persky supporters. She says this escalation of ill will won’t wither her resolve.
“The recall campaign will not be intimidated. We are going to go forward,” said Dauber.
Stanford police say they’re investigating the envelope that looked like a Valentine’s Day card envelop, but wasn’t.
The Persky recall question goes before county voters on June 5th.