Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Horrific Sex Crimes Against Student

The nation was shocked when, in 2013, a young female student from Vanderbilt University claimed she was raped by four football players in a dorm room while she lay unconscious after a night out drinking with one of the men. The details of the attack were brutal and the fact that neither the victim nor the participants claim they remember what happened, though the incident was recorded and appeared on social media outlets, made us truly puzzled and unsure of what the outcome of this assault would be. Part of the mystery is over: on Tuesday, it took jurors just three hours to find two of the football players guilty on all charges.

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After a 12-day trial, Brandon Vandenburg, 21, and Cory Batey, whose 21st birthday was Tuesday, were found guilty each of five counts of rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery for raping the unidentified woman on June 23, 2013. As Vandenburg's verdict was read and he and his family discovered he was found guilty of aggravated rape, the man's father reportedly yelled, "That is terrible" and began crying.

The victim appeared in court every day of the trial and held her mother's hand as the verdict was announced.

The details that emerged about this incident were truly gruesome. The victim had reportedly started dating Vandenburg and the two were out at a bar having drinks. The woman became intoxicated and says she can't remember what happened next, but a surveillance video shows Vandenburg bringing her back to his dorm room and putting her on the floor as if she were a rag doll.

Two minutes later, Batey appeared and began assaulting the student with his fingers. Two other football players, Brandon E. Bank and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, were also present at the time of the attack and one of them reportedly placed a water bottle in the woman's anus.

More from The Stir: Frightening Details Emerge in Vanderbilt Student Rape Case

One aspect of this case that is incredibly important is that Vandenburg was never found to have actually touched the woman, but the fact that he egged on his friends and shouted things like "Squeeze that s***" when one teammate had penetrated her with a water bottle proved he was equally responsible, in jurors' eyes.

There is still some question as to whether Batey penetrated the victim with his penis. At first, McKenzie reportedly testified that he had, then he said in a statement that his friend couldn't get an erection.

Batey broke down in tears when he took the stand, apologized, and claimed he was "drunk" out of his mind and would never do the things he did while sober. Clearly traumatized, the victim reportedly cried and vomited as he spoke in court.

The brave young woman released the following statement after the jury made its decision:

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.

The trial isn't over yet. McKenzie and Bank will be tried separately and the length of time Vandenburg and Batey will have to serve remains to be seen—though they could reportedly be sentenced to "decades" in prison.

What are your thoughts on the jury's decision in this case?

 

Image via Emily Crowe/Flickr

 

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