• Sara Michalowicz

Ex-Vanderbilt Athlete Sentenced to 17 Years in Rape Case

Photo courtesy of CBS News

Brandon Vandenburg, 23 and a former Vanderbilt football player, was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Friday, Nov. 4 for encouraging his teammates to rape an unconscious female student in 2013. Vandenburg’s sentence falls under a law requiring aggravated rape convicts to serve 100 percent of their time behind bars.

Surveillance footage showed Vandenburg helping carry the woman into his Vanderbilt dorm room, where testimony showed he egged on three of his teammates and gave them condoms. Vandenburg also took videos on his cellphone of a dorm rape in June 2013 and emailed them to friends in California as the crime was being committed.

In June, Vandenburg was convicted again on five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of unlawful photography.

His victim did not appear in court Friday but asked for Vandenburg to receive the maximum punishment. A prosecutor read her statement to Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins.

“Please do not use my absence as an excuse for leniency, as it in no way diminshes the profound and insidious impact of Mr. Vandenburg on me and my life. I still ask that he receive the full sentence allowed under the law for orchestrating a sustained 30-minute gang rape against me, a defenseless woman who trusted him. The minimum sentence is not enough for what this man did to me.”

Though Vandenburg did not commit the sexual acts, he was considered the ringleader as it had been reported that he was dating the victim. His victim has tried to preserve her anonymity despite being forced to testify at multiple trials. She has since graduated from Vanderbilt and is pursuing a Ph.D. at another school.

Vandenburg apologized to her Friday, as he told Judge Watkins that he was ashamed of what he had done and blamed it on alcohol. Vandenburg stated, “My judgment was severely impaired and I’m sad for everyone involved.”

Judge Watkins reiterated that this was one of the saddest cases that he has ever heard as Vandenburg abused the woman’s trust in the man that she was dating.

Cory Batey, Vandenburg’s former teammate, was convicted in a separate retrial and sentenced to 15 years. Meanwhile, the cases of two other former teammates facing rape and other charges – Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks, who remain out on bond – have yet to be resolved.

Photo courtesy of usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com

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