NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A former Vanderbilt football player was drunk and manipulated by three of his teammates on the night that an unconscious female student was raped, an attorney for Cory Batey argued Monday — a departure from previous arguments that blamed a permissive college culture.
Batey and three other former players are charged with raping the student in a dorm in June 2013.
A prosecutor told jurors that the neuroscience major was treated like a piece of trash by the players. He said Batey was all over the student as soon as the players got her into a dorm room and the assault ended with Batey urinating on her.
“This was the end of this 30-minute attack,” prosecutor Tom Thurman told jurors. “Nobody wants to mess with her after that.”
Last year, a jury convicted Batey and his former teammate Brandon Vandenburg of multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery. Their trial featured dramatic video footage and still photos of the attack that police said were taken by the players.
The trial also raised troubling questions about the role of bystanders in sexual assaults on campus. Several Vanderbilt athletes testified that they saw the female student partially nude and lying in a dorm hallway but did not intervene or seek help.
Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins overturned the verdicts after lawyers discovered that the jury foreman in the previous trial failed to disclose that he had been a victim of statutory rape.
Batey, who is now 22, is being tried alone this week.
One of his lawyers told jurors in opening statements that Batey was so intoxicated that he blacked out. She described him as a “puppet” being used by the other players who were egging him on.
“The two drunkest people in the room became the entertainment for the night,” attorney Courtney Teasley told jurors.
Batey is charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Prosecutors say Batey can’t use intoxication as a defense for rape. But his attorneys might lessen the blow of a conviction if they can convince jurors that Batey can’t be found guilty of the more serious crime of aggravated rape if he was too drunk to have aided and abetted anyone else.
Vandenburg is scheduled to be tried in June. Former football players Brandon Banks and Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie are also charged in the case. They are not yet scheduled to go to trial. McKenzie is expected to testify against Batey.
Thurman told jurors that the players might have gotten away with the attack if it weren’t for a case of vandalism at the dorm that prompted campus officials to look at surveillance video. The video also happened to show the players carrying an unconscious woman into a dorm room.