Retrial starts of Vanderbilt ex-football player charged with rape

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 04, 2016 5:58 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - A Vanderbilt University ex-football player charged with raping an unconscious female student "violated every principle of human decency," prosecutors said on Monday to open the retrial of a man released on bond after a mistrial last year.

Prosecutors in opening statements detailed a timeline of the suspected rape and the role of the former player Cory Batey. He was one of two players convicted of rape last year whose case was declared a mistrial because one of the jurors failed to disclose that he himself was a victim of rape.

Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman said that after the sexual attacks had been completed and captured on cellphone video, "Mr. Batey does the ultimate to degrade the victim, he urinates on her."

Defense attorney Courtney Teasley relied on the same defense as in the original trial, saying in opening statements Batey "was drunk out of his mind," and should not be held responsible for his actions.

Batey was a puppet of other players in the room, and he and the rape victim "became the entertainment for the night," Teasley said.

A jury was brought in from Chattanooga on Sunday to hear the case of Batey, who along with Brandon Vandenburg, was convicted in January 2015 of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery.

The two men, who were re-indicted, have been free on bond since the mistrial was declared in June.

Both men were scheduled to be tried again together, but Vandenburg's trial was delayed last week because of a medical issue with a member of his legal team.

The victim in the case, which drew national attention to sexual assaults on college campuses, was unconscious during the attack in a dorm room where the football players were staying in June 2013.

She attended every session of the original trial last year and testified against the two men. She is currently working on a doctoral degree in another state and was not in court on Monday.

In all, four former Vanderbilt football players were each charged with aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery in the case.

Trials of the other two men charged in the case, Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are expected to take place after the retrials of Vandenburg and Batey.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; writing by Jon Herskovitz, editing by G Crosse)