A jury in Nashville yesterday found former Vanderbilt football players, Brandon Vanderburg and Cory Batey, guilty of the aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery of a 21-year-old neuroscience and economics major last June.
Evidence showed that Vanderburg, who was dating the victim at the time, had invited other members of the Vanderbilt football team to have sex with her while she was unconscious. Vanderburg gave them condoms and told them that he could not maintain an erection because he was high on cocaine.
Prosecutors also said that Batey urinated on the woman during the attack, of which there was video and photographic evidence.
Defense attorneys for Vanderburg and Batey argued that the two rapists should not be held accountable for their actions because they were too drunk to understand what they were doing. They said that the culture of binge drinking and casual sex on Vanderbilt’s campus was to blame.
Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman rebuked that argument, calling it a “red herring” and saying that the attackers simply thought they were above the law.
“That’s the culture you really saw here,” said Thurman. “Their mindset that they can get away with anything.”
And they might have, had security footage of the football players dragging the unconscious victim into Vanderburg’s dorm room not been seen. The victim had no recollection of the attack and did not know what had happened until she saw both the security footage and the video of her attack that the rapists had taken.
All she remembered was waking up in a strange dorm room. Vanderburg told her she had gotten drunk and thrown up, and that he had taken care of her and cleaned up the mess. She apologized for the incident, not yet aware of what had really happened.
The victim released a statement saying that she hoped the public attention on her case would lead to steps by universities across the country to end sexual violence on their campuses.
“Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame,” she said.
Sentencing for Vanderburg and Batey is scheduled for March 6. A full list of their charges which include “criminal responsibility for anal penetration with water bottle” and “mouth penetration with penis” can be read here.
Two more players named in the attack, Jaborian McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are currently awaiting trial for their involvement.