A South Carolina man accused of raping multiple teen girls allegedly visited the gravesite of one of his victims after she killed herself, a revelation made by the woman’s family amid outrage that the serial rapist has so far only received a slap on the wrist for the crimes, FITSNews reports.
Last week, Orangeburg County Court Judge Markley Dennis sentenced 19-year-old Bowen Turner to five years of probation as part of a plea deal in one of the cases after he admitted to assaulting another woman in 2019.
The deal reduced a charge of first-degree criminal sexual assault charge to first-degree assault and battery, even though the victim was willing to testify. He will serve no jail time and will not be required to register as a sex offender.
In another case, prosecutors dropped charges against Bowen because the alleged victim, 18-year-old Dallas Stoller, died in November as court proceedings were pending.
Stoller’s family told the Murdaugh Murders podcast that she committed suicide after intense abuse and harassment from peers and even teachers.
The family further told the podcast they were sickened to learn that data from Turner’s ankle monitor shows he visited Stoller’s gravesite in January.
A sign at the gravesite now states: “Bowen Turner, you are NOT welcomed here!”
Stoller alleged that Turner raped her in October 2018 at a party, where her friends discovered her unconscious lying on the ground while Turner was standing and putting his pants back on. Turner had scratches and bruises all over her body.
Turner’s family said they expected backlash from the community when she reported the rape because Turner has connections to powerful figures in the community, including through his father, who is an investigator for the local prosecutor.
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Stoller and Turner were both students at Orangeburg Preparatory School, where their peers and even some teachers backed Turner, Stoller’s family told the podcast.
“She actually had to stay in school with him for two weeks while the school board decided what they were going to do when he was charged,” Stoller’s sister told the podcast. “She had to walk the halls in school with him for two weeks after the fact.”
Stoller’s father added: “She was at the time her senior class president, so she was well known in her school and in her class. She was pushed around pretty badly by the kids who drew the line in the sand and took sides.”
Even so, Stoller wanted Turner to get help and did not want revenge against him. She wanted to make sure no one else got hurt.
“She had a big enough heart, saying that he was sick and he needed to get help, and she didn’t want to ruin his life. Even though he ultimately ruined hers, she did not want to ruin his life, but she knew he was sick and he would hurt someone else,” Stoller’s sister told the podcast. “They were friends before all of this.”
Her father told the podcast: “Even after this happened, she said, ‘Bowen is my friend, I don’t want him hurt, I just want him to get help because he’s got something going on.’”
Stoller later began attending the College of Charleston and had hoped for a fresh start. But some of her high school peers also attended the college and they continued to bully her. She would get physically ill from the anxiety, developed ulcers, and had to be hospitalized several times.
“I really can’t explain to you the mental impact that this had on her,” her sister told the podcast.
Stoller transferred to the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, and even though she was getting help from a therapist, she continued to struggle.
On November 12, Stoller died from a self-inflicted injury, according to the podcast.
Her family members learned earlier this year that Turner visited Stoller’s gravesite on January 4 around 9 p.m., according to ankle monitoring logs reviewed by the family.
The logs also showed that Turner had violated his bond dozens of times, visiting golf courses, restaurants, shopping centers and even going out of state, according to WCSC-TV.
Attorney Sarah Ford, who represents the victims’ families, told the Daily Mail that Stoller and the other victims deserve better.
“I think this is just a tragedy for these families. The overarching thing that we see with this case is just a failure of our system. We see people with power and privilege deciding what justice should look like for them,” Ford told the news outlet.
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[Feature Photo: Dallas Stroller; School photo, handout/Bowen Turner; police handout]