Former Vanderbilt players in rape case released from jail
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Two former Vanderbilt football players who were convicted in January of raping an unconscious fellow student have been released from jail on bond.
Melinda McDowell, spokeswoman for the Metro Nashville Jail, said Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were released Wednesday.
Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins cleared the way for the players’ release a day after declaring a mistrial because of juror misconduct and setting aside their rape convictions. He ordered them to wear GPS monitoring devices if released.
An attorney who represents the alleged victim in the case declined to comment ahead of their release.
Prosecutors have said they will seek a new trial, but no trial date has yet been set.
Vandenburg and Batey were accused with two other players of assaulting an unconscious female student in a dorm room in June 2013.
The two other players have yet to stand trial. But Vandenburg and Batey have been held in jail since January after the jury found them guilty on multiple counts of rape and aggravated sexual battery. They were locked up in the local jail awaiting sentencing – both face decades in prison – when revelations surfaced that the jury foreman in the case was himself a victim of sexual abuse.
The declaration of a mistrial on Tuesday was a stunning turn of events in a highly publicized case that raised troubling questions about rape on college campuses and the role of bystanders who fail to act.
Watkins declared the mistrial after determining the jury foreman intentionally withheld information about being a victim of statutory rape. In his ruling, Watkins said the justice system cannot tolerate a trial with a tainted juror regardless of the strength of the case.
Dorinda Carter, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said there had been no discussion of perjury charges against the juror, who declined to comment through his attorney.
The trial featured graphic video and photographic evidence showing the unconscious female student being violated in the dorm room. The evidence, prosecutors say, came from footage from the players’ cellphones that was taken while the sexual assault was taking place.
The trial also featured testimony from several athletes at the school who saw the female student in distress but failed to call for help.
Both Vandenburg and Batey had made bail before their trial earlier this year. The judge revoked bail after jurors rendered their verdict.
Watkins set bond for Batey, a Nashville native, at $350,000. Bond was set at $400,000 for Vandenburg, of Indio, California. Vandenburg apparently had been issued a misdemeanor citation while he was out awaiting trial. The attorneys at the hearing did not say what the citation was for.