Former Vanderbilt players charged with rape, sexual battery

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

The four Vanderbilt players dismissed from the team in June have been charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

The former Commodores are Brandon Vandenburg, Brandon Banks, Tip McKenzie and Corey Batey. As of Sunday night, all four players had turned themselves into police.

The four players allegedly raped an unconscious woman in Vandenburg's dorm room on June 23. University officials had been checking security footage in an unrelated incident and saw "suspicious behavior" by the four players before alerting the police.

"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 in a statement.

Per the Tennessean, Batey was arrested Friday and booked into jail on a $350,000 bond. Vandenburg, 20, of Indio, Calif., was taken into custoday at the Nashville airport early Saturday morning after flying back to the city, with his bond also set at $350,000. McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Miss., turned himself in at police headquarters Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

A police spokesman told the Associated Press said Banks turned himself in Sunday evening, with bond for the Maryland native set at $250,000.

McKenzie was released after posting a $50,000 bond.

All four players received a mandatory HIV blood screening before their respective bookings.

The players were dismissed from the team on June 29. None of the four ever played in a game for the Commodores.

"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," Vanderbilt vice chancellor Beth Fortune said in a statement, per the AP. "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."

Five current Vanderbilt players are listed as witnesses for the prosecution and could be subpoenaed if the case goes to trial, including expected Commodore starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels. The other players are offensive lineman Jake Bernstein, wide receiver DeAndre Woods, tight end Dillon van der Wal and snapper Mack Prioleau.

"You guys know how prideful I am, how much I care about this community, how much I care about this university and how much I care about this football program," coach James Franklin said after Friday's practice, per the Tennesseean. "I care about all those things very deeply, so whenever something doesn't happen that's positive for all three of those things, it breaks my heart.”

When asked if the issue would be a distraction as Vanderbilt prepares for its Aug. 29 season opener against Ole Miss, Franklin said "the team is moving on."

Grover Collins, Banks's attorney, declined comment to the AP but said last month that his client was innocent and cooperating with police. McKenzie's attorney, Jodie Bell, also did not return a message to the AP.

Batey, Banks, and McKenzie all redshirted as true freshmen in 2012, with McKenzie leading the team in receiving yards in the 2013 spring game. Vandenburg was a junior college transfer.

CBSSports.com writer Jerry Hinnen contributed to this report.

 

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre

College Football Video

Latest

Most Popular