Jury Convicts 3rd Former Vanderbilt U. Athlete in 2013 Gang Rape

A Tennessee jury on Friday found a former football player at Vanderbilt University guilty of two of seven charges, including aggravated rape, in connection with the gang rape of an unconscious student in 2013, The Tennessean reports.

The former athlete, Brandon E. Banks, is the third teammate to be convicted in the case. He faces a possible 15-year prison sentence for the aggravated-rape charge. Two members of the team, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, were sentenced to 17 years and 15 years, respectively, for their roles in the rape, and another player, who testified against his teammates, awaits his own trial.

The men provided some of the most damning evidence against them, as the police found photographs and videos on each of their cellphones showing the rape in progress. The victim, who gave evidence at all of the trials, testified that Mr. Vandenberg had given her a blue drink and she woke up hours later in an empty and unfamiliar room.

Mr. Banks drew attention this year by making campus appearances, in advance of his trial, in which he spoke about sexual-assault awareness, prevention, and bystander intervention for athletes. A lawyer for the victim said it was “shocking and disturbing” that Mr. Banks had been invited to speak.

After Friday’s verdict was announced, Mr. Banks’s lawyer implied to The Tennessean that an appeal was planned. “He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” said the lawyer, Mark Scruggs. “We have some really good issues to raise.” Mr. Banks’s primary defense against the charges was that he feared the other men would beat him up if he did not participate.

Return to Top