NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four former Vanderbilt football players have been indicted on five counts of aggravated rape each of an unconscious 21-year-old student at a campus dormitory in June.
Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson credited Friday’s indictment to the painstaking work of detectives from the sex crimes unit and an electronics expert from the department. Nashville detectives even traveled to Palm Desert, Calif., for several days in late July working with the Riverside Co. Sheriff’s Office in California to collect evidence.
“Their investigation has uncovered compelling, unsettling evidence that was presented to the Davidson County Grand Jury earlier today,” Anderson said in a statement.
Safety Cory Batey, 19 of Nashville, Tenn.; defensive back Brandon Banks, 19, of Brandywine, Md.; receiver Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Miss.; and tight end Brandon Vandenburg, 20, of Indio, Calif., also have been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery for an incident tipped to campus officials by surveillance video. Vandenburg also is charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
Vanderbilt dismissed the players June 29 and barred them from the campus pending the investigation. Vice chancellor Beth Fortune said Friday that their first thoughts are for the victim, a Vanderbilt student, and that the university will continue to offer her all of its 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,” Fortune said in a 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.”
According to Nashville police, the four men are charged with raping the unconscious woman inside Vandenburg’s room at Gillette House dormitory early on June 23. University officials checking the dorm’s surveillance in the hallways on an unrelated matter noticed the four’s behavior and notified the Vanderbilt University Police Department the night of June 25. Campus police contacted Nashville’s sex crimes unit June 26.
Attorney Worrick Robinson said Batey has been taken into custody at his Nashville home. Police said Batey was taken to a hospital for mandatory blood testing before being taken to the Metro Jail with his bond set at $350,000. Police said they are making arrangements for the other three to be taken into custody as well.
But the investigation is continuing.
“Although four people are being charged at this time, the investigation is still on-going into the actions of other individuals and the role(s) they may have played in this incident,” District Attorney General Torry Johnson said.
Vanderbilt did not identify the four players until July 15 before the Commodores headed to Alabama for Southeastern Conference media days. The players already were listed in the team’s media guide for the upcoming season but no longer are on the roster.
None of the four played a snap for Vanderbilt last season. Batey came in last season as a receiver and redshirted behind Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd before switching to safety this spring.
Banks also redshirted as a freshman last season. His attorney Grover Collins declined to comment on the indictment but said last month that Banks is innocent and fully cooperating with police.
McKenzie redshirted in 2012, but the 5-foot-8 receiver had four catches for 83 yards in the Commodores’ spring game — the most yards receiving in the game. His attorney, Jodie Bell, did not immediately return a message by from The Associated Press. The 6-foot-5 Vandenburg was considered one of the top junior college tight ends nationally coming out of Xavier College Prep, and he became the first junior college transfer at Vanderbilt since Jordan Rodgers in 2010.
The Commodores, who went 9-4 and won the Music City for their best season since 1915 last season, opens the 2013 season Aug. 29 hosting Mississippi.