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Former Vanderbilt University football player guilty of rape in retrial

By Yvette C. Hammett
Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg was found guilty on eight charges related to the gang rape of an unconscious woman in a campus dorm room three years ago. He is facing 15-25 years in prison. File from Metro Nashville Police Department/Twitter
Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg was found guilty on eight charges related to the gang rape of an unconscious woman in a campus dorm room three years ago. He is facing 15-25 years in prison. File from Metro Nashville Police Department/Twitter

NASHVILLE, June 19 (UPI) -- A former Vanderbilt University football player was found guilty late Saturday of the rape of an unconscious woman in his dorm room almost three years ago.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for 4½ hours before delivering the verdicts at about 8:20 p.m. Brandon Vandenburg was found guilty on all eight counts, leaving him to a potential prison sentence of 15 to 25 years.

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The victim nodded in the courtroom as the verdicts were read against the man she once trusted and dated, The Tennessean reported.

Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman, talking to the press in the courtroom hallway, praised the victim for enduring the case that was unlike any other. The case has lasted through three trials over nearly three years and numerous media headlines.

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Vandenburg was accused of taking the woman, whom he was dating, into a dorm room on the Vanderbilt campus in June 2013, where three teammates sexually assaulted her. The men were caught on surveillance cameras in the hallway photographing the unconscious woman, then dragging her into a dorm room, CNN reported.

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Vandenburg's sentence comes on the heels of another high-profile campus sexual assault case. Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in prison for sexually assaulting an unconscious student behind a dumpster, which brought the wrath of the public on the judge that sentenced him.

The jury convicted Vandenburg of five counts of aggravated rape, one count of unlawful photography and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. This was the second time he had been convicted in the sex assault, but in the previous trial the judge declared a mistrial after finding that one of the jurors was biased and not impartial.

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The judge learned that the man who became jury forman had been the victim in a statutory rape case, information he failed to disclose when asked during the selection process.

Jurors deliberated for five hours before reaching a verdict Saturday. Vandenburg showed little emotion as the verdict was read

University Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune said in a statement issued Saturday night that the school's first thoughts are with the victim, "who has shown incredible strength and fortitude as she has endured another retrial.

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"It is our sincere hope that today's verdict strongly sends the message to victims and to perpetrators that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our communities. Vanderbilt will continue its work to combat the threat of sexual violence on our campus, and we appreciate our strong partnership with the Metro Nashville Police Department and Office of the District Attorney which helped deliver today's verdict and, we hope, some measure of resolution for the victim."

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Corey Lamont Batey, another Vanderbilt football player, was convicted in April. Two other former players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie, are charged but have yet to face trial in the case. They have pleaded not guilty.

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