Three months after being found guilty of raping an unconscious woman in a retrial, former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison.
Batey was found guilty in April – for a second time – of aggravated rape and assault by a Nashville jury. A mistrial was declared in the case last June after it was declared that a juror was biased because he withheld that he was a victim in a statutory rape case.
Batey, along with Brandon Vandenburg – another former Vandy football player who was found guilty in June – raped the woman in January 2013 in Vandenburg’s dorm room. The victim has testified that she does not remember anything about the incident after sipping a drink given to her by Vandenburg at a bar. Surveillance footage showed several players carrying her into Vandenburg’s room and taking pictures of her around 2:30 a.m. She awoke the next morning in Vandenburg’s bed.
Two other former Vanderbilt players, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are awaiting trial. The two have pleaded not guilty.
According to The Tennessean, Judge Monte Watkins said the case was “one of the saddest” he has worked in his career.
From The Tennessean:
Judge Monte Watkins said he’d weighed thousands of cases and in each considers a sentence that was fair for the victim, the defendant and their families.
“It is one of the saddest cases that I have ever encountered,” he said. “And I’ve been in the legal business for 32 years.
“All of the defendants in this case basically have life sentences,” he said, saying each would be on the sex offender registry for life after being released from prison.
The victim also spoke during the hearing.
The victim spoke in the hearing about her own life sentence: The impact this crime has on her. She asked the judge to sentence Batey to the maximum 25 years. Her statement was broken up by sobs as the woman, now 24, tried to keep her composure.
She does not remember the rape and learned about what happened as the police investigation unfolded.
“I was fearful of giving a victim impact statement at all because I know that after three years and everything that has happened, I can never do it justice, and I’m scared of that failure,” the woman said.
“It will never be possible for anyone to put into words how this has affected me,” she said. “You will never understand what this has done to me if you aren’t standing in my shoes. The humiliation, the pain, the isolation, being reduced to nothing but a piece of flesh right before your eyes, it does something to you that is truly impossible to describe.”
Batey, 22, apologized to the woman, his family and Vanderbilt. Batey, who testified he did not remember the incident after a night of drinking, called it an “unintentional tragedy.” He has been in custody since April.
“I hope that if not today maybe one day you would find it in your heart to forgive me for any damages I may have caused,” he said.
The victim had been dating Vandenburg for a few weeks prior to the night of the incident. In Vandenburg’s trial, prosecution said Vandenburg encouraged his teammates to rape her and even passed out condoms and filmed the rape as it happened.
After the incident, Vandenburg met with teammates to align their stories and went to other lengths to cover his tracks, including going to California, his home state, to destroy evidence.
Like Batey, Vandenburg faces 15-25 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30.
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