Prosecutors in the rape case involving former Vanderbilt football players took aim at allegations from defense attorneys Tuesday. A district attorney said the legal team representing Brandon Vandenburg filed court documents with baseless allegations designed to intimidate the victim and malign prosecutors. Those allegations also mentioned former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, now at Penn State, and linked to him to knowing and making contact with the alleged victim. Franklin’s connection to the rape case has been one of comfort and care for the victim, a prosecutor says.
“He did,” make contact with the alleged victim, deputy district attorney Tom Thurman said in a phone interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I think he and his wife called and said they were praying for her and thinking about her. It was probably a pretty nice thing to do, and it gets thrown up like this.”
Defense attorneys mentioned Franklin had contacted the victim at some point in time about gathering female students to help with recruiting. Franklin has stated his involvement with the case has always been to cooperate with authorities investigating the case. Franklin is set to begin an extended bus tour to meet with Penn State alums throughout the Pennsylvania and mid-Atlantic region.
“Obviously, it wasn’t for any purpose of covering up or anything like that,” Thurman added. “It was showing support, which was a nice thing to do. That’s the only contact I know about.”