Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg was sentenced to 17 years in prison today after he was convicted of five counts aggravated rape and other felonies in June. Prosecutors argued that, in 2013, Vandenburg encouraged three of his teammates to rape a woman who he was then dating.
The woman, who was unconscious at the time of the attack, was brought by Vandenburg to his dorm room. While there, she was raped while Vandenburg recorded the attack and passed out condoms. According to the prosecution, in a video from the attack, Vandenburg could be heard “giving instructions, encouraging, and [...] laughing.” He 17-year sentence is two years longer than those of his co-defendants.
Vandenburg’s conviction was his second for the crime. In January 2015, he was convicted, along with teammate Corey Batey, of aggravated rape. The original sentence was overturned after it was discovered that the jury foreman had been a victim of statutory rape. Vanderburg’s retrial began in June.
Vanderburg’s lawyers argued that he was drunk at the time of the rape and should not be held responsible. The jury was unsympathetic to his defense and it took them only four hours to convict him of five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and unlawful photography.
The Tennessean reports that the victim did not attend Vanderburg’s hearing, but that Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman read her statement on her behalf:
Please do not use my absence as an excuse for leniency, as it in no way diminishes the profound and insidious impact of Mr. Vandenburg on me and my life [...]
I still ask that he receive the full sentence allowed under the law for orchestrating the sustained 30-minute gang rape against me, a defenseless woman who trusted him.
The minimum sentence is not enough for what this man did to me.