June 19, 2016

Updated (6): Vanderbilt University Football Players Convicted of Gang Rape; School Officials Found No Rape Earlier; Players Guilty at Retrial

Posted August 10, 2013 5:33 PM ET; Last updated June 19, 2016 9:14 PM ET

Vandenburg (below) and former teammate Cory Batey (above) were tried and convicted by a jury last year, but the verdicts were thrown out after lawyers discovered the jury foreman had been a victim of statutory rape.

[Updated June 19, 2016 9:14 PM ET]
[From article]
The Vanderbilt football player who orchestrated the gang rape of an unconscious woman passed out a box of condoms to his teammates and giggled as they assaulted her for 30 minutes.
Brandon Vandenburg, 23, was found guilty by the jury in Nashville of raping the woman, who he was dating at the time, in his Vanderbilt dorm room three years ago.
It was the conclusion to a trial that has revealed horrifying details of the gang rape that involved Vandenburg and three other football players at the prestigious private Southern university.
Vandenburg, who now faces 15 to 25 years in jail, was taken into custody as soon as the verdicts were read out while his parents began to cry.
Vandenburg and former teammate Cory Batey were convicted last year, but the verdicts were thrown out after it was revealed a juror had not disclosed he was a victim of statutory rape.
The retrial comes amid a national uproar over the six-month sentence former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was given for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Much like Turner's defense, Vandenburg's attorneys attempted to paint a portrait of a young athlete who was new to campus and immediately succumbed to peer pressure to party and drink.
Vandenburg had met his victim, who was 21 at the time, during a recruiting visit to the campus. They began to date when he arrived at the school in June 2013, just two weeks before the attack.
The victim said on the stand that she was excited to see Vandenburg, then 20 years old, when he met up with her at the popular Tin Roof bar on June 22, 2013.
Her roommate, Lauren Miller, said she was comfortable leaving the victim behind with the football player, who looked excited to see her.
'I knew they’d been hanging out for a little bit so we trusted him,' Miller said on the stand, according to the Tennessean.
The last thing Vandenburg's victim remembers from that night was sipping a blue drink.
She woke up the next day alone in the bottom bunk in his dorm room, covered in bruises.
Vandenburg told her she had gotten drunk and vomited and that he had to take care of her. She said he made her feel guilty.
'He told me that I had gotten sick in his room and he had to clean it up and that it was horrible and that he had to spend the whole night taking care of me,' she said during Vandenburg's first trial last summer.
'I apologized, I was embarrassed.'
They met up the day after the attack and when Vandenburg initiated sex, his victim consented.
That was the last time the woman saw Vandenburg until they were face to face in court.
But Vandenburg continued to text the girl in the days after the attack, as rumors began to swirl around campus about what really happened in his dorm room.
As Vandenburg was wishing her 'sweet dreams' and asking when they were going to cook together, the police showed the victim the horrific footage he and his teammates had taken.
Vandenburg's texts became more frantic as details of the night became more clear.
'I would never let what they're saying happen to you,' he texted the victim three days after the incident.
'Ok great this is such a mess,' he said in another one. 'I'm never helping anyone get home ever.'
Vandenburg at first told police he had approached three of his teammates, Batey, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie, merely to help him put the girl in his bed.
Surveillance footage previously aired by ABC News showed Vandenburg carrying the young woman out of a car and into his dorm with three other football players.
The video shows Vandenburg and the men dragging the woman out of an elevator and onto the floor, pausing to take photos of her with their cell phones.
Vandenburg claimed they all then left his dorm room. 'I didn't want to sleep in there with a girl who was, like, a mess,' he told police.
But after police revealed they had seen troubling footage, Vandenburg's story changed. His interview was played to the jury for the first time ever last week.
It could not be used in the 2015 trial because it could have implicated Batey during their co-trial.
'She got sexually assaulted right in front of me,' he told police, trying to pin the attack on his three teammates. 'And I didn't do anything. I should've called someone. They deserve to go to jail.'
'I wish I just would have left her out in front of the dorm room on the floor,' he added. 'I should've been an an a******.
But testimony from McKenzie, Vandenburg's roommate, and two of his friends from California, who received video and images during the attack, tell a different tale.
Pictures and footage retrieved from the cell phones belonging to Vandenburg, Banks and Batey documented the horrific gang rape.
McKenzie said Vandenburg and his teammates put the victim facedown on the tile floor of his room.
He giggled as he told his teammates to 'squeeze that s***', referring to a water bottle that police said one of the men stuck into her anus.
McKenzie said Batey appeared to have sex with the woman, sticking his penis into her mouth.
He sat on her face and raised a middle finger, someone took a picture.
McKenzie said he told Vandenburg he thought the woman would wake up. Vandenburg slapped the woman to prove that she wouldn't. It left a bruise.
Vandeburg tried to wake up his roommate Mark Prioleau, telling him 'We have this b**** in here' and 'We're gonna f*** her', McKenzie said.
Prioleau, who was in the top bunk, saw the four football players surrounding the unconscious woman lying facedown on their dorm room floor. He turned to face the wall and tried to fall asleep.
He said he never checked on the woman and after the attack was done he went to sleep in a friend's room.
McKenzie said Vandenburg was watching porn on his laptop as his teammates assaulted the girl he had been dating, touching himself and trying to get an erection.
The attack lasted 30 minutes and ended with Batey urinating on the woman, testimony states.
Surveillance footage captured Vandenburg exiting the room to cover the camera with a towel.
McKenzie said he and Banks panicked in the bathroom after the attack and that it was Vandenburg who told them to calm down.
He said Vandenburg flushed condoms down the toilet and told them someone he knew had 'beat a rape case' by doing the same.
Four Vanderbilt athletes, football players Chris Boyd, Dillon Van Der Wal and DeAndre Woods, and tennis player Michael Retta, all testified they saw the female victim lying naked in the hallway outside Vandenburg's room that night.
Boyd and Woods helped carry the woman to his bed after the attack when Vandenburg asked for help.
Investigators said in the following days Vandenburg searched on his cell phone: 'Can police recover deleted picture messages'.
He then went to California to try and destroy photographs and video of the attack he sent to high school friends Miles Finley and Joseph Quinzio.
Finley said Vandenburg smashed his phone and threw it into a lake.
Quinzio, who also told the jury that Vandenburg called him during the attack, said his friend destroyed his phone and bought him a new one as well as attempted to erase his computer history.
It took jurors just over four hours of deliberation Saturday before finding Vandenburg guilty on multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery.
Vandenburg was also convicted of one count of unlawful photography.
'He was the one that got (the woman) there for these strangers to do this to her,' Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman told the court room during the prosecution's closing argument.
'He provided the victim. And he provided the room.'
Batey was retried in April and found guilty of aggravated rape and other charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
Banks and McKenzie have yet to be tried and are not currently scheduled to go to trial.
Vandenburg wiped a tear from his eye during his attorney's closing argument, footage published by WSMV revealed.
He shook his head in disbelief as the first guilty verdict was read out.
Norman praised the victim, who went on to graduate from Vanderbilt with honors and is now pursuing her doctorate in another state, for her strength after sitting through three years of trials.
'She is one of the strongest people that I know,' Norman said.
'She has incredible courage. She is just an amazing, intelligent young woman.'


Horrifying details of Vanderbilt gang rape revealed: Football player found guilty of orchestrating 30 minute assault passed out condoms to teammates, giggled as they inserted water bottle inside the girl he was dating and sent footage of attack to friends
Brandon Vandenburg, 23, was found guilty by the jury in Nashville on all counts of raping the woman he was dating three years ago
He now faces a potential jail sentence of up to 25 years
Vandenburg was taken into custody as soon as the verdicts were read out while his parents began to cry
One teammate said Vandenburg tried to wake up his roommate that night, telling him 'we have this b****' and 'we're gonna f*** her'
Teammate said Vandenburg flushed condoms down the toilet after and told them that was how another guy he knew 'beat a rape case'
Two friends from California said Vandenburg sent them video of the attack and later flew home to destroy their phones
PUBLISHED: 20:45 EST, 18 June 2016 | UPDATED: 13:42 EST, 19 June 2016

* * *

[Updated June 14, 2016 8:02 PM ET]
[From article]
A former Vanderbilt football player encouraged his teammates to have sex with an unconscious woman he had been dating, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
During opening statements in the retrial of Brandon Vandenburg, the prosecutor said the former player even passed out the condoms to three teammates before she was raped.
He said the attack came after the football player plied the female student with alcohol.
Vandenburg, a 22-year-old former tight end from Indio, California, is not accused of having sex with the victim in the dorm on the Nashville campus in June 2013.
But prosecutors maintain that he should be held responsible for what other players did to the woman because he encouraged it and was part of the crime.
Lawyers told jurors they would see graphic evidence that included cellphone videos and photos that players took of the female student during the attack.
Vandenburg took the videos, Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman told jurors.
'He's giving instructions, encouraging, and then you'll hear him laughing,' Thurman said. 'He thinks it's hilarious.'
The retrial comes against the backdrop of a furor over the six-month sentence former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner received after being convicted of sexual assault.
The cases at two of America's elite universities are part of broader national debate about sexual assaults on college and university campuses.
Vandenburg's defense, however, maintains that the other three players are to blame.
Defense attorney Randy Reagan said Vandenburg was a 19-year-old newly arrived recruit from a small desert town in California who had been introduced to a culture of drinking and partying at the school by mentors on the football team.
He said a female booster often spent hundreds of dollars on rounds of drinks for players at a popular Nashville nightclub and had bought drinks for the victim.
Vandenburg, the lawyer said, had been drinking from the morning into the early hours of the next day when he asked football players that he didn't know to help him carry the unconscious woman up to his dorm room.
The other players, Reagan said, were immediately all over the 21-year-old student as soon as they got her in the room.
Nobody disputes what happened to the woman was terrible, the lawyer said.
'Mr Vandenburg maybe could have stopped it,' Reagan told jurors. 'But the state is asking you to find Mr Vandenburg criminally responsible for the actions of people he didn't know minutes before all this happened.'
The defense attorney said the videos jurors would see are 'horrible' but asked them not to close their minds.
The former tight end had tried to use an expert witness for rebuttal who was prepared to testify that the combination of brain trauma from concussions Vandenburg suffered playing football and alcohol intoxication would have severely altered the former player's judgment.
However, Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins said jurors could not hear the testimony because the Knoxville psychiatrist had not examined Vandenburg, was not an expert on toxicology and had arrived at his conclusions based on an email from the defense.
Vandenburg is charged with five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of unlawful photography.
He and former teammate Cory Batey were tried and convicted by a jury last year, but the verdicts were thrown out after lawyers discovered the jury foreman had been a victim of statutory rape.
Batey was retried in April and found guilty of aggravated rape and other charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
Two other players have yet to be tried and are not currently scheduled to go to trial.


Former Vanderbilt football player 'handed out condoms to three teammates so they could rape his unconscious date after he plied her with alcohol'
Brandon Vandenburg is being retried for an incident in Nashville in 2013
Prosecutors said he urged teammates to have sex with unconscious girl
He allegedly plied the victim with alcohol before the other players raped her
The 22-year-old is not accused with having sex with the victim in a dorm
But attorneys say he should be held responsible for what other players did
Lawyers say he was giving instructions and laughing during alleged attack
His defense lawyer says he was introduced to a culture of drinking and partying by mentors on the football team
PUBLISHED: 17:48 EST, 13 June 2016 | UPDATED: 22:59 EST, 13 June 2016

* * *

[Updated February 14, 2015 3:18 PM ET]
[From article]
A year before two Vanderbilt football players were convicted in a 2013 gang rape, campus officials concluded there was a lack of evidence that 'nonconsensual sexual intercourse' had occurred.
The report from the Tennessee school's Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Department led to the expulsion of Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Baty and two other players.
However, Vanderbilt has refused to release its on-campus findings, leading some to wonder if the panel determined the players had, in fact, raped an unconscious female student.
According to the Tennessean, the school's report concluded only that Vandenburg was an 'accomplice' in violating the woman's privacy.
[. . .]
The school is now the focus of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights for its handling of sexual violence allegations.
[. . .]
Charging all four players with rape even though not all of them engaged in the act itself sends a strong message about holding people accountable, said Jane Stapleton, a University of New Hampshire professor who runs bystander intervention programs at campuses. Only two players were accused of raping the student, but all four were charged with it because prosecutors held them criminally responsible based on their actions that night.
[. . .]
Rumors swirled around campus, but she didn't learn what had happened until well after police came to her. The players had tried to cover it up by erasing the images. Testimony showed at least five other Vanderbilt athletes saw her in distress and did not report it.


Vanderbilt campus investigation cleared football players of rape charges a year before they were convicted by court
Brandon Vandenburg, 21, and Cory Batey, 21, were found guilty of raping an unconscious student in a dorm room in June 2013 with two other men
However, an on-campus investigation into the issue determined only that the men were in violation of sexual misconduct rules
All four implicated men were expelled but Vanderbilt refuses to release internal records of their investigation
Critics of Vanderbilt's opaque investigation process--and those of school's nationwide--question if the school determined a rape had, in fact, occurred
PUBLISHED: 10:56 EST, 1 February 2015 | UPDATED: 21:50 EST, 1 February 2015

* * *

[From article]
Despite the photos and video, and witnesses seeing the woman unconscious and at least partially naked in the dorm, no one reported it.
The trial played out amid a national conversation about rape on college campuses. In Nashville, where the prestigious private university is located, hundreds of officials from colleges across the state are meeting this week for a two-day summit on how to reduce sexual assaults.
Attorneys for Vandenburg, who had been seeing the woman, said he did not assault her but was recorded on video laughing and encouraging his teammates. Batey’s attorneys said the images didn’t show him assaulting the woman.
Defense lawyers argued that Vandenburg and Batey were too drunk to know what they were doing and that a college culture of binge drinking and promiscuous sex should be partly to blame.


2 ex-Vanderbilt football players convicted of raping student
By Associated Press
January 27, 2015 | 6:14pm

* * *

[From article]
The best friend of the alleged Vanderbilt gang-rape victim took the stand Wednesday to describe her then-roommate's distressing appearance the morning after the attack is said to have occurred.
Four former Vanderbilt football players are currently on trial for raping a woman repeatedly while she was unconscious on June 23, 2013, including the victim's then-boyfriend Brandon Vandenburg.
Lauren Miller went to a bar with the victim the night leading up to the attack, and told the court her reaction the next time she saw her friend the following morning.
She says her roommate came back to their condo with a gash on her leg, looking ill and 'out of it'.
'My immediate reaction was "Woah, what happened to you?"' Miller recalled.

Shocking: The former roommate of the alleged Vanderbilt rape victim took the stand on Wednesday to describe what she looked like the morning after the attack.


'Woah, what happened to you?': Roommate reveals horror of seeing beat-up and disheveled Vanderbilt 'rape victim' the morning after alleged attack by boyfriend and his football teammates
Lauren Miller said Wednesday that the alleged victim had a gash, looked ill and 'out of it'
Four former Vanderbilt football players are currently on trial for allegedly raping the unconscious woman on June 23, 2013
PUBLISHED: 21:58 EST, 21 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:35 EST, 22 January 2015

* * *

[From article]
A former Vanderbilt football player accused of raping an unconscious student has described how his teammates slapped and urinated on the woman while her boyfriend encouraged them to assault her.
Jaborian 'Tip' McKenzie, 20, took the stand in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday to testify in the rape trials of his former teammates Brandon Vandenburg, 21, and Cory Batey, 20.
McKenzie is also accused of raping the woman in the Vanderbilt dorm room in June 2013 but he insists he never touched her. He and another defendant, Brandon Banks, 20, are awaiting trial.
On Tuesday, he described in graphic detail how he went to the Gillette dorm with Batey and Banks after a night of heavy drinking at two different parties and came across Vandenburg and the woman.
[. . .]
McKenzie said the woman was taken into Vandenburg's dorm room and then he saw Batey starting to sexually assault her as Vandeburg 'coached' them on what to do, according to updates of the testimony shared by Tony Gonzalez of The Tennessean.
Vandenburg said he was too 'amped' on cocaine to be able to have sex with her but 'egged on' the others and switched on porn, McKenzie told the court.
'To my knowledge he knew what he was doing,' he said of Vandenburg.
[. . .]
Prosecutors showed the jury two videos taken of the alleged assault. McKenzie hung his head as they played.
He admitted that he had been laughing during the incident.
'At the time, it was' funny, he said. 'When I look back on it, it wasn't funny.'


Vanderbilt football player, 20, testifies how 'teammates slapped and urinated on unconscious student as her "amped" boyfriend encouraged them to sexually assault her'
Jaborian McKenzie, who is accused of raping the student with three others in a dorm room in 2013, testified against two of his teammates on Tuesday
Brandon Vandenburg, 21, and Cory Batey, 20, are on trial for rape
McKenzie said Vandenburg, who had been on a date with the girl and taken cocaine, 'egged them on', switched on porn and slapped her behind
He said Batey also slapped her then urinated on her
McKenzie claims he did not touch the woman but met up with the men the following day to agree not to talk about 'the bad thing' that happened
Vandenburg's roommate, who was in bed at the time, also took the stand on Tuesday and said he heard the incident but did nothing to help
PUBLISHED: 16:51 EST, 20 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:14 EST, 21 January 2015

* * *


Four former Vanderbilt football players indicted on aggravated rape charges after assaulting unconscious woman in dorm
New York Post
Last Updated: 9:12 AM, August 10, 2013
Posted: 9:04 AM, August 10, 2013

No comments: