Grand jury indicts 4 former Vanderbilt players for raping unconscious woman

Friday, August 9, 2013 at 4:12pm
VANDYCORYBATEY.jpg
Former Vanderbilt player Cory Batey

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)

Filed under: City News

10 Comments on this post:

By: wmsamart on 8/9/13 at 3:40

Were they at Vanderbilt on academic scholarships?

By: Kelliente on 8/9/13 at 5:52

I hate that this is your last story, but I respect and admire you for staying at your post and continuing to report important local news, right up to the very end. You're all class acts.

By: 4gold on 8/10/13 at 6:57

Sounds like there were a lot of people around. Too bad someone not so drunk didnt step in to stop what was going on. 4 guys got drunk and altered their lives to the negative. No doubt. Sad and horrible. Not expected at Vanderbilt. Very disapointing.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: govskeptic on 8/10/13 at 8:06

Not expected at Vanderbilt? This case was discovered by security as they were
looking through hall video tapes on something totally different. Upon seeing
this girl appearing unconscious being carried into dorm room, Metro Police
were called. Remarks, apparently to excuse the behavior, by the players having
been drinking, was apparently not as intoxicating as to this 20 yr old victim.

By: Kelliente on 8/11/13 at 10:46

"4 guys got drunk and altered their lives to the negative?" Give me a break. They altered their victim's life to the negative, because THEY RAPED HER. This wasn't some harmless prank gone awry or poor decision making skills that got them in trouble. They're rapists-- violent criminals-- and they deserve to go to prison.

By: joe41 on 8/11/13 at 8:58

Kelliente: These four guys altered their life. I don't give you a break. These guys made a mistake. We haven't heard the whole story and I reserve judgment until I have heard the whole story.
Joe

By: 4gold on 8/12/13 at 7:19

Who is the fall down drunk girl who never reported the incident? A little judgement on her part might have been helpful. Don't drink yourself into unconsciousness and this thing doesn't happen. THEY HAD SEX. As disgusting as it is. They didn't kill anyone. But when instances like this become common place at Vanderbilt I will stop supporting them. Too much like state school behavior on a daily basis. Disgusting.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: localboy on 8/12/13 at 9:49

Could've been your daughter/sister in that room...would you say that her being falling down drunk is an equal contributor to the alleged crime? Thought not.

By: kistlemk on 8/13/13 at 9:08

I'm tired of people blaming the girl in a case of rape. No girl asks to be raped. It doesn't matter what she's wearing or how intoxicated she is. This was not about her judgement but the boys' judgement. All four of them decided to rape her, to have sex with an unconscious girl. This is about a crime being committed. Stop talking about the girl's judgement in terms of being intoxicated or that it's just sex. She's a college student during the summer drinking with some football players. This is normal college behavior. What is not normal or acceptable is having non-consensual sex. That decision is never okay. Sex is a personal, intimate decision and not being able to decide whether or not to engage in it is devastating. I'm a Vanderbilt female undergrad and I hear stories like this all the time. The only reason Vanderbilt is taking action this time is because there is video tape.

By: harviele on 8/13/13 at 1:58

No, she didn't ask to be raped or even expect to be raped but she is still at fault for being there and drunk to the point that she didn't know what she was doing or what was being done to her. You can say it doesn't matter all you want to but the fact remains that had she not been drunk and passed out the incident would never have happened. Teaching girls that they are not to blame at all for what happens to them when they engage in risky behavior is downright dumb.