Report: Insufficient evidence against former football player - - The News for South Mississippi

Investigation finds insufficient evidence against former Vandy football player


A Vanderbilt University investigation has found that Brandon Vandenburg did not rape his girlfriend, but the finding might not find its way to court.

A Vanderbilt investigation upheld the expulsions of Vandenburg, Brandon Banks, Jaborian McKenzie and Cory Batey. The four former players are charged with multiple accounts of aggravated rape after a June incident inside a Vanderbilt dorm room.

The four former players were dismissed from the football team after the incident and later dismissed from school.

Vandenburg's attorneys said the school's finding could be significant, but the district attorney and others observing the case said that's not true.

However, just because the investigation said Vandenburg did not rape his girlfriend, the school's investigation and criminal investigations run on different rules.

Vanderbilt Vice-Chancellor Beth Fortune said the investigation centered only on the school's sexual misconduct policy.

District Attorney Torry Johnson said the Vanderbilt report changes nothing.

"It's a different process, a different procedure and has absolutely no bearing on a criminal case," said Johnson. "It's simply an effort to get something in front of the media and generate a little publicity for Vandenburg and his counsel. It is absolutely erroneous."

No one, including police, have ever said Vandenburg actually raped his girlfriend.

In Tennessee, the law says you are equally part of any crime you participate. As an example, the getaway driver of a shooting at a convenience store is charged with murder just like the gunman.

"A document from an internal Vanderbilt investigation saying the defendant did not have consensual intercourse is meaningless," said defense attorney Jim Todd, who is not involved in this case. "It is extremely doubtful the document will see the light of day in the courtroom. It is extremely doubtful the person who wrote that document will be admitted into the courtroom. That's not the issue. The issue is whether or not that person promoted or aided another person in having unconsensual intercourse.

"It will likely not be admitted. That's not the issue. This person promoted intercourse."

Vandenburg's attorney John Herbison said the finding "could be significant," but no one else seems to think it will matter.

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