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Former Vanderbilt football player found guilty of rape

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A grand jury found a former Vanderbilt University football player of raping an unconscious female student in a teammate’s dorm room back stemming from a 2013 incident in a Nashville courtroom Friday.

The jury, after 15 hours of deliberations, found 23-year-old Brandon Banks guilty on charges of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual assault. The case against Banks stoked simmering concerns about sexual assault on college campuses by student-athletes.

Sentencing will take place on August 18, where Banks is expected to spend at least 15 years in prison, according to Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore. Moore noted that they “were very satisfied with their [the jury’s] verdict.”

Banks’ defense attorney, Mark Scruggs did not respond to a request for comment by Reuters, but was quoted by The Tennessean newspaper that Banks “was shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process. There’s a lot more to do from here on.”

Two of Banks’ former teammates, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, who also faced the same charges, were found guilty when tried together in January 2015 until a mistrial was declared. Both were later retried, convicted and sentenced – Batey for 15 years and Vandenburg for 17 years in prison. A fourth former teammate, who has testified against Vandenburg, Batey and Banks, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, has yet to stand trial related to the case.

All four teammates used cell phones to archive their crimes and played crucial roles in the case presented by the prosecution when shown to jurors in all the trials that have taken place so far.

According to testimony given, Vandenburg and the victim, which had been dating at the time, had been drinking prior to meeting for drinks at a popular bar known as a handout for Vanderbilt students. He had attempted to take the unconscious victim to her apartment, but was unable to get in, so he had taken her back to his dorm room, where the other three charged men helped cart her into his room, where the attacks took place

The unnamed victim testified against all three men for their roles in the attacks.

 

Banks had testified that in his defense, he felt intimidated by the others and reluctantly participated out of fear of retribution later that night on the football field.

About the Author

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- Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed and general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks. He is an active contributor to the Nokomis Free Press-Progress in Nokomis, IL. He currently serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party, as deputy communications director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman and co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus. He has also been politically active since 2015, having run for city council, state representative, school board and is currently running for state senator for the 2018 election season.

Former Vanderbilt football player found guilty of rape