Four former Vanderbilt University football players were indicted by a Davidson County grand jury on Friday.
Brandon Banks, Cory Batey, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie and Brandon Vandenburg were charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.
Vandenburg is additionally charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
According to police, "The four defendants are charged with raping the unconscious victim inside Vandenburg’s room at Gillette House dormitory in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 23rd. The matter first came to light the next week when University officials checking the dorm’s hallway surveillance recordings regarding an unrelated situation observed concerning behavior by the defendants. Notification was made to the Vanderbilt University Police Department on the night of June 25th. VUPD contacted the MNPD’s Sex Crimes Unit on the morning of June 26th."
The university suspended the four student-athletes from the school and the team on June 29.
In a prepared statement, Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs Beth Fortune spoke about the university's response.
"We are shocked and saddened by the allegations that such an assault has taken place on our campus and that they include members of our football team," Fortune said. "When certain facts first became known to us, we moved swiftly and decisively to remove these players from the team, suspend them from the university on an interim basis, and bar them from campus. Even before the university took those actions, the Vanderbilt University Police Department contacted the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and we have cooperated closely with them and the District Attorney's office during their investigation."
The Vanderbilt athletic department declined comment and forwarded all requests to the university's public affairs office.
Starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and reserve tight end Dillon van der Wal were named as witnesses to be subpoenaed for the state. Offensive lineman Jake Bernstein, wide receiver De'Andre Woods and long-snapper Mack Prioleau were also listed by the state as witnesses.
Worrick Robinson, attorney for Batey, said the indictments came down today.
"I can confirm he's been indicted, but that's all I can say," Robinson said. "I actually have not seen the indictment. Until I have seen the indictment, it's not appropriate for me to comment."
Batey's arrest triggered the indictments being made public. He was booked at around 3:30 p.m. and held in lieu of $350,000. Batey had mandatory blood testing before being taken to jail. Police said they are making arrangements for the other three to be taken into custody as well.
Banks, 19, is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound defensive back from Brandywine, Md. He was rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, ESPN, Scout.com and 247Sports. His brother, Maurice, played collegiately at Georgetown before stints in NFL Europe and the Arena Football League. His other brother, Andrew, played at Middle Tennessee State from 2007-11.
Batey, 19, is a 6-foot, 205-pounder who switched from wide receiver to safety this spring. He helped Ensworth High School to consecutive Division II-AA state championships in 2010-11. He also received three stars from all four recruiting services. He was one of Franklin’s earlier commits for the 2012 class. In July of 2011, he joined highly touted prospects running back Brian Kimbrow and defensive end Caleb Azubike, and verbally committed to Vanderbilt at a press conference at D1 Sports Training Complex in Franklin.
McKenzie, 18, is a 5-8, 175-pound wide receiver from Natchez, Miss. He was rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com but received two stars from ESPN and 247Sports. In the spring game in April, he led all receivers with 83 receiving yards on four catches. He also had a 49-yard touchdown reception and hauled in a two-point conversion. Though Vanderbilt has five incoming freshmen wide receivers, McKenzie was expected to be in the mix for one of the reserve spots.
Vandenburg, 20, is a 6-5, 255-pound tight end from Indio, Calif. He was ranked as the third-best junior college tight end, according to Rivals.com. He received four stars from ESPN and was a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com. He played in five games at the University of San Diego as a freshman in 2011 before transferring to College of the Desert Community College in Palm Desert, Calif. He was named the team MVP last year after making 24 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns.
(Reporting by Jerome Boettcher, James Nix, Bobby Allyn and Steve Cavendish)