Brandon Vandenburg

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.”

Prosecutor defends James Franklin’s contact with alleged rape victim

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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.”