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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Former Vandy Players Convicted of Rape

NASHVILLE (CN) - Two former Vanderbilt Commodores football players were convicted Tuesday for a 2013 rape and will likely be sentenced to decades in prison.

Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were accused in the alleged rape of an unconscious female student in a Vanderbilt University dorm room on June 23, 2013.

A jury found Vandenburg and Batey each guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, and one count of attempted aggravated rape. The jury also found Vandenburg guilty of one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.

Loud crying could be heard in the courtroom when the guilty verdicts were read. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 6, according to Judge Monte Watkins.

Vandenburg and Batey have been on trial for the past two weeks. Jurors have been shown graphic photos and video allegedly taken from Vandenburg's cell phone by police. The jury also heard testimony from the victim last week.

Closing arguments began Monday afternoon with prosecutor Jan Norman and Batey's attorney Worrick Robinson. They continued Tuesday morning with Fletcher Long, Vandenburg's attorney.

Long told the jury Vandenburg was guilty of unlawful photography but not of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery.

"What they're doing to this boy ain't right. He can be found guilty of illegal photography. That is what he did. Return that verdict," he said of Vandenburg. "[But] he isn't anymore responsible for the conduct of other actors than anybody else."

The prosecution ended closing arguments with its rebuttal. Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman said the evidence against Vandenburg and Batey is clear.

"In my 30-something years of practicing I've never been able to stand before a jury and say '[we] have crimes on video, audio and photographs,'" Thurman told the jurors. "We have that today."

Thurman rebutted the point made by Robinson throughout the trial that Batey was exposed to a culture of alcohol and promiscuity that was new to him. Thurman called that defense a "culture excuse."

"What culture did you see in this case? The culture you really saw was entitled athletes thinking rules don't apply to them," he said.

A verdict came back around 5 p.m. local time.

Two others charged in the alleged rape, Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Banks, have not had their trials scheduled yet. They both agreed to testify for the state but only McKenzie actually did.

Tuesday was Batey's 21st birthday, according to court records.

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