Brandon Banks

Samuel M. Simpkins/The Tennessean via AP

Ex-Vanderbilt player Cory Batey found guilty of aggravated rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated assault by a jury in a retrial Friday night. Batey will be sentenced for 15-25 years for the aggravated rape charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 20.

Batey was found guilty on the three of the most severe counts against him, including one for aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. He was taken into custody immediately following the verdict as required by Tennessee law. He was also found guilty on four additional counts; aggravated sexual battery, facilitation of aggravated rape and two counts of attempted aggravated rape.

Batey and the victim in the case each took the witness stand on Friday before the jury was asked to come to a verdict. The jury deliberated for roughly two and a half hours before coming back with the guilty verdict.

Batey was originally found guilty of aggravated rape a year ago, along with Brandon Vandenburg, but the two temporarily escaped legal action due to a mistrial. The mistrial was a result of a juror was ruled to be unable to be impartial due to being a victim of statutory rape.

Vandenburg will go through a similar retrial later this year in June. Two other Vanderbilt players, Jaborian McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are currently pending. All four players had been suspended by the Vanderbilt program in June of 2013 after being connected to the sexual crimes, which was swiftly followed by the dismissal of all four players.

“Our first thoughts are with the victim and the incredible strength she has shown, and continues to show, both throughout the investigation and the legal proceedings,” Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs Beth Fortune said in a statement. “Our heart continues to go out to her as she has endured this retrial. This case has had a lasting impact on us all.”

Mistrial declared in rape case involving ex-Vandy football players

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Back in January, two former Vanderbilt football players, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, were convicted on multiple counts in connection to a July 2013 rape on the university’s campus.  Five months later, a judge has declared a mistrial in the case.

“The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by juror #9’s conduct,” the judge wrote in an order released Tuesday, The Tennessean reported.

The newspaper went on to write that “[h]is order did not address how the case will proceed going forward, and whether a new trial date would be set.”  As for the reason behind a mistrial being declared, the paper explained it thusly:

After trial, defense attorneys discovered one juror was a victim in a statutory rape case 15 years ago. They argued on June 15 that the judge should declare a mistrial because that juror could not have been impartial based on his own personal experience. They said the juror intentionally did not disclose that past experience because he wanted to get on the jury.

Prosecutors responded by arguing the juror did not attempt to sway other jurors during deliberations. Called to testify, the juror said he did not even think of the past case until after the trial had ended.

Vandenburg, Batey and two other former Vandy football players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, were initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman. The first two had been convicted of multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery, while the other two are still awaiting trial.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

Two ex-Vanderbilt players found guilty in rape trial

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The trial of former Vanderbilt players Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey concluded Tuesday with both players being found guilty of all charges. The pair was on trial together but were represented by different lawyers.

The pair was accused of a July 2013 rape, along with two other players – Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks – who still await trial.

Deputy district attorney Tom Thurman told the jury the accused thought their status as Vanderbilt football players allowed them to escape justice. “That’s the culture that you really saw here. Their mindset that they can get away with anything,” Thurman said.

The jury deliberated for close to three hours and found both men guilty of all seven counts of aggravated rape or sexual battery. Vandenburg, who was accused of initiating the events of that fateful day, also faced two more counts of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.

Sentencing is set for March 6.

“I was just drunk out of my mind,” Batey said Monday. “This is something I would never do in my right state of mind. I’m just sorry.”

Vanderburg’s attorney Fletcher Long argued his client took pictures of the acts but did not participate himself. “He took photographs that he never should have taken,” said Long.

 

Former Vandy player accuses ex-teammate of initiating rape

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The Vanderbilt rape case gets worse the more we learn about it.

Taking the stand in a Nashville court today, former Commodore wideout Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie accused former teammate Brandon Vandenburg of initiating the alleged June 2013 sexual assault that left four ex-Vanderbilt playersCory Batey and Brandon Banks are the two others, accused of rape.

McKenzie said that Vandenburg encouraged his teammates to assault an incapacitated woman in his dorm room, passing out condoms and even attempting to wake an unnamed, sleeping roommate. “He was like amped, demanding,” McKenzie said, according to the Associated Press. “He was hyper, like he was coaching us to do whatever.”

Prosecutors produced a number of still images and videos of the group committing various assaults on the woman. McKenzie admitted to taking pictures of the attack. He also said that Vandenburg, the alleged ringleader of the assault, did not touch the woman. McKenzie said all four men had been drinking.

McKenzie said he was close with Batey and Banks, but that the group barely knew Vandenburg. “We was like brothers,” McKenzie said, according to the Tennessean.

Following his dismissal from the Vanderbilt program, McKenzie briefly joined the Alcorn State roster before the school did an about face a day later.

Alcorn State does about-face, ‘removes’ ex-Vandy player indicted in rape

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The news first surfaced yesterday afternoon that an ex-Vanderbilt football player indicted in an on-campus sexual assault had transferred to Alcorn State and made his season debut for the Braves this past Saturday.

Less than 24 hours later, the FCS program has done an abrupt about-face.

In a statement from the school’s president, it was announced that Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie has been removed from the football program until further notice.  McKenzie, the son of a former Alcorn basketball player, had enrolled at the school earlier this month.

“Alcorn failed to sufficiently examine the allegations against McKenzie before allowing him to participate in our football program,” university President M. Christopher Brown II said in his statement.

“In an effort to provide educational opportunities to a southwest Mississippi student, Alcorn State University made an error in judgment.”

Along with three of his former Commodore teammates — Brandon BanksCory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg – McKenzie was charged with one count of aggravated rape and one count of sexual battery in early August.  The four players were dismissed in late June by Vandy for their alleged role in the on-campus attackthey were indicted a month and a half later.

Prior to the announcement that McKenzie had been removed from the team, Braves head coach Jay Hopson told the Associated Press that he believes his new player to be “100-percent innocent” and that’s why he was permitted to play.

“We’ll just let the process take care of itself,” Hopson said. “And let the whole world figure out that this kid, from everything that I know, that this kid did absolutely nothing. So like I said, if somebody can tell me or show me where he did something, then I may sing a different song.

“But right now, from everything I know, everything that’s been shown to me through numerous phone calls and talking to many people involved in this case, I can’t find anything that says this kid is guilty.”