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Four former Vanderbilt football players charged with rape of unconscious woman

Jay Busbee
Dr. Saturday

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Four now-former members of the Vanderbilt University football team have been charged in a case involving the rape of an unconscious 21-year-old student in June.

Each of the players has been charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, according to Nashville police. The players include Brandon Vandenburg (age 20, from California), Brandon Eric Banks (age 19, from Maryland), JaBorian McKenzie (age 18, from Mississippi), and Cory Batey (age 19, from Nashville) were charged in an indictment. In addition, Vandenburg was charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.

According to police, the four players raped an unconscious woman in Vandenburg's dorm room on June 23. The players were caught when a review of security tapes in an unrelated incident caught the players acting in a suspicious fashion. The players were kicked off the team on June 29 and barred from returning to campus.

The victim is reportedly cooperating with police in the investigation. Batey has already been arrested and is being held on $350,000 bond; the other three will soon be arrested as well, police indicated. The investigation remains ongoing, and police indicated that other charges could be forthcoming.

Vanderbilt University vice chancellor Beth Fortune released a statement in connection with the charges. “Our first thoughts are for the victim, a Vanderbilt student, and we convey to her and her family our deepest sympathies and sorrow," the statement read. "We will continue to offer her all of our services and support. 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.”

The players were dismissed from the team, a fact which the university took into account. "It is a privilege, not a right, to represent Vanderbilt as a student athlete, and when our standards of conduct are not met, we will hold our student athletes accountable," Fortune said in the statement. "The charges brought today against the four former Vanderbilt football players allege conduct which is abhorrent and will never be tolerated. We will review our athletics program to be sure that it, like all other programs at the university, reflects our culture of community and respect for others and that our student athletes are held to the same high standards of conduct as all our students.”

None of the players had yet played in a regular-season game for Vanderbilt.

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