Four Vanderbilt football players charged with raping unconscious student
By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) – Four Vanderbilt University football players have been charged with the rape of an unconscious 21-year-old female student in one of their dorm rooms this summer, police said on Friday.
The suspects, who were kicked off the football team and banned from campus following the allegations, were charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of sexual battery, according to Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron.
Police arrested one of the men, Corey Batey, 19, of Nashville, on Friday afternoon. Aaron said Batey was taken to a hospital for mandatory HIV testing before being held on a $350,000 bond.
Aaron identified the others as Brandon Vandenburg, 20, of Indio, California; Brandon Banks, 19, of Brandywine, Maryland; and Jaborian McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Mississippi.
Vandenburg, in whose room the rapes are said to have occurred, was also was charged with tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.
Aaron said police have contacted authorities in the states where the other men live. He encouraged them to come to Nashville and turn themselves in.
The incident allegedly took place in Vandenburg’s dorm room in the early hours of June 23, but was not immediately reported.
“The matter first came to light the next week when university officials checking the dorm’s hallway surveillance recordings regarding an unrelated situation observed concerning behavior by the defendants,” according to a police press release.
The university’s police force contacted the city police on June 26, which led to Friday’s indictments.
District Attorney General Torry Johnson said the investigation was ongoing and that other people may be implicated in the attack.
“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,” said Beth Fortune, Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs, reading from a prepared statement.
This is the latest in a series of alleged incidents of sexual assault involving college football players. In June three U.S. Naval Academy football players were charged with raping a female midshipman at an off-campus party in April 2012.
In May the U.S. Justice Department struck a deal with the University of Montana in which the school pledged to change the way it responds to rape accusations.
A federal review listed at least 11 reported sexual assaults since 2010 involving University of Montana students, several of whom were members of the football team.
(Editing by Nick Carey and Xavier Briand)
[Image via WTVF-TV]