Former athletes found guilty in Vanderbilt rape

Chelsea Hoag, Campus Carrier Managing Editor

Former Vanderbilt University football players Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were found guilty on Tuesday for raping an unconscious woman in a dorm at the Nashville, Tenn. university on June 23, 2013. 

The rape happened in a time span of 30 minutes while the case lay pending for 19 months. The trial took 12 days. The jury deliberations lasted a little more than three hours according to The Tennessean. 

Two others, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon E. Banks, still await trial on the same five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. 

According to the court testimony, the victim and Vandenburg were heavily drinking at a local bar before returning to his dorm around 2:30 a.m. The two were dating at the time. Vandenburg carried the unconscious woman inside and put her body on the dorm room floor. 

During the trial, jurors watched videos and saw photos of the rape that detectives recovered from Vandenburg’s, Batey’s and Banks’ phones. Footage of the victim and men going in and out of the room were caught on  surveillance tape. 

                                                                           John Partilo, The Tennessean photographer
Top: Vandenburg hugs his attorney after being found guilty on all counts.
Bottom: Cory Batey was one of two former Vanderbilt football players found guilty of rape on

Batey began sexually assaulting the women with his fingers and then one of the men stuck a water bottle in the woman’s anus. Vandenburg watched and cheered on the men in the room. 

McKenzie testified in court about what happened that night saying he took one photo during the rape but denied touching the woman. He said Vandenburg tried to wake up his roommate, then passed out condoms to the men. 

“Batey and Vandenburg slapped the alleged victim to make sure she would not wake up, and then Batey urinated on the woman.  Banks, McKenzie and Vandenburg then went into the bathroom and had a conversation.   McKenzie saw Vandenburg flush condoms down the toilet,” reported Stacey Barchenger of The Tennessean. 

Vandenburg sent some of the videos to his friends in California, Joseph D. Quinzio and Miles J. Finley. The two men testified on the eighth day of the trial and stated Vandenburg tried to erase the evidence from their phones and computers. Later he even tried to install software to permanently erase the footage from Quinzio’s computer. 

The defense’s argument stated that the culture of Vanderbilt binge drinking and promiscuity were to blame, along with the former Vanderbilt football players being “too drunk” to know what they were doing. 

Security cameras showed video of many people who saw Vandenburg carry the victim’s limp body from a car to a dorm that night and no one called for help, the Associated Press reported. 

This is more commonly known as the “bystander effect.” The more people there are around a crisis situation, the less likely the victim will receive help because either a person thinks someone else will do it, or what’s going on is none of his or her business. 

The victim spoke out after the verdict in a written statement. 

“I am also hopeful that the publicity this case has received will lead to a discussion of how we can end sexual violence on college campuses. Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame,” she said. 

This case and others have sparked attention to the problems concerning sexual assault on college campuses nationwide. 

A new documentary film entitled “The Hunting Game” recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It  covers how college campuses deal with sexual assault cases. CNN had announced it will air the documentary later this year. 

The film is the first time the accuser of Florida State University quarterback, Jameis Winston, has appeared publicly to tell her story. The film is in selected theaters. 

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