Ex-Vanderbilt player sentenced to 17 years in rape case
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Vanderbilt football player who encouraged his teammates to rape an unconscious female student was sentenced Friday to 17 years in prison under a law requiring aggravated rape convicts to serve 100 percent of their time behind bars.
Surveillance video showed Brandon Vandenburg helping to carry the woman into his dorm room, where testimony showed he handed out condoms to three of his teammates and egged them on. The 23-year-old former player also took cellphone videos of the June 2013 dorm room rape and emailed them to friends in California while the crime was ongoing.
He faced a sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison, and his victim had asked for the maximum punishment.
The woman, whom Vandenburg had begun dating shortly before the attack, did not appear in court Friday, but a prosecutor read her statement to Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins.
Vandenburg, already in jail since his second conviction, was also added to the state sex offender registry.
The Associated Press does not normally identify victims of rape or sexual assault. The woman, who has since graduated from Vanderbilt and is pursuing a Ph.D. at another school, has tried to preserve her anonymity despite being forced to testify at multiple trials.
Vandenburg apologized to her Friday. He told Judge Watkins that he was ashamed of what he had done and blamed it on alcohol.
“My judgment was severely impaired and I’m sad for everyone involved,” Vandenburg said.
The judge reiterated that this has been one of the saddest cases he has ever heard. He said Vandenburg abused the woman’s trust in the man she was dating. “But for him, it would not have happened,” Watkins said.
Cory Batey, Vandenburg’s former teammate, was convicted in a separate retrial and sentenced to 15 years.
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.