Former Vanderbilt teammates testify in rape case
Testimony during a rape trial of two ex-Vanderbilt football players Tuesday revealed that at least four of their teammates knew an unconscious female student was in distress but did not call for help.
A former roommate of one of the players being tried testified that he awoke during the alleged attack but was too scared to do anything about it.
Four former football players are charged with raping an unconscious coed. All have pleaded not guilty.
Mack Prioleau, who was then an 18-year-old football player who had just arrived at the school two to three weeks earlier, said he had been sleeping on a top bunk in a dorm room when he was awakened in the middle of the night.
Prioleau told jurors that he saw a woman lying face down on his dorm room floor in the early hours of June 2013. He told jurors his roommate Brandon Vandenburg, and three other players were in the room, and he could hear sexual talk among them as well as the sounds of a pornographic video coming from a laptop computer.
Vandenburg and Cory Batey are being tried this week for rape.
Prioleau testified that he did not call police or check on the welfare of the woman when he awoke later to find her in the lower bunk. He said that he would have reacted differently if it had happened today.
"But at the time I was scared and uncomfortable," Prioleau told jurors. "I didn’t know what to do."
Later in the day, DeAndre Woods, a Vanderbilt football player who was 18 and had also just arrived on campus in the weeks earlier, testified that he saw a naked unconscious woman lying in the hallway of a dorm.
Prosecutors say Vandenburg had moved the 21-year-old female student from the dorm room and into the hallway after the alleged attack.
Woods testified that he and former Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd carried the woman into Vanderburg’s dorm room and placed her in the bed before Boyd covered her with blankets. He said football player Dillon van der Wal and a tennis player he didn’t know were also there.
There is no indication from testimony that any of those players knew at the time that the woman was allegedly raped in the dorm room earlier.
Woods said he went back to his room and told his roommate what he had seen.
"Did you tell anyone else that … morning, as in calling 911, campus security?" asked Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore.
"No, sir," Woods replied.
"Why not?" Moore asked.
"I don’t know why," Woods answered.
The testimony came during a dramatic day in court when an ex-Vanderbilt football player charged with rape testified against his former teammates.
Former players Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Banks are also charged but no trial date has been set for them. Defense attorneys have warned jurors that McKenzie and Banks have motive to testify against Vandenburg and Batey because they want to cut a deal with prosecutors.
McKenzie testified that Vandenburg passed out condoms, encouraging players to have sex with the woman who was lying on a floor.
"He was like amped, demanding," McKenzie told jurors of Vandenburg’s demeanor. "He was hyper, like he was coaching us to do whatever."
McKenzie testified that Vandenburg even tried to wake up Prioleau to get him to participate.
He, too, was just 18 years old. He told jurors that he never touched the woman but took pictures of her.
His voice quivered at times when he was testifying, telling jurors that the whole thing began with Banks trying to help Vandenburg carry the passed out woman upstairs. He said things got out of control quickly.
McKenzie also testified that he did not tell then-Coach James Franklin what had happened.
One of Vandenburg’s defense attorneys asked whether Vandenburg touched or had sex with the woman. He said Vandenburg had not.
Testimony also revealed that no DNA evidence from the scene or the rape kit matched Batey, Banks or McKenzie.