Ex-Vandy players plead not guilty
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
Four former Vanderbilt football players have pleaded not guilty to raping an unconscious woman at a campus dormitory.
Cory Batey, 19 of Nashville, Tenn.; Brandon Banks, 19, of Brandywine, Md.; Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Miss.; and Brandon Vandenburg, 20, of Indio, Calif., pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg also is charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
All waived their appearances so attorneys entered their pleas Wednesday. A date for discussions has been scheduled for Sept. 19.
A current player also pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact. An attorney entered receiver Chris Boyd's plea in a separate courtroom. The Commodores' second-leading receiver in 2012 was suspended from the team after his indictment last week.
Campus officials learned about the June 23 incident when they checked surveillance video for another matter and alerted Vanderbilt police June 25. Campus police called Metro Nashville Police's sex crimes unit June 26.
The four were indicted Aug. 9 on what police called "compelling, unsettling evidence" for allegedly raping the unconscious woman inside Vandenburg's room at Gillette House dormitory.
Boyd, 21, was indicted Aug. 16 on a felony count of being an accessory after the fact, and police say Boyd took part in an attempted cover-up advising one of the defendants how to cover up the crime. Vanderbilt suspended Boyd, who caught 50 passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns last season, the same day.
Vanderbilt dismissed Batey, Banks, McKenzie and Vandenburg on June 29 and also barred them from the campus pending the investigation. None of the four played a snap for the Commodores last season, though Vandenburg was expected to play immediately as one of the top junior college tight ends nationally coming out of Xavier College Prep.
The Commodores host Mississippi on Aug. 29 to open the season.