Ex-Vanderbilt student and former football player Brandon Vandenburg has been convicted at his retrial of aggravated rape for egging on his teammates to rape an unconscious woman in 2013.
According to the Associated Press, it took jurors only four hours to determine their verdict, which also included multiple counts of aggravated sexual battery and unlawful photography.
As Jezebel previously reported, both Vandenburg and his teammate Cory Batey were found guilty of the same charge in January 2015—but after it was discovered that the foreman at the first trial was a survivor of statutory rape, the both cases was overturned, resulting in a retrial.
Like the first, the second trial was meant to determine whether Vandenburg was criminally responsible for encouraging his teammates to rape a fellow Vanderbilt student, a neuroscience major he was dating at the time. While Vandenburg himself did not physically touch her, he was found responsible for orchestrating the events: namely, asking his teammates to carry her into his room, persuading his teammates to penetrate her, and taping the incident. The prosecution stated that Vandenburg could be heard “giving instructions, encouraging, and [...] laughing” while the rape occurred.
Originally, four Vanderbilt football players were charged, but only Batey and Vandenburg were prosecuted for aggravated rape. Batey was found guilty for a second time in April.
As my colleague Stassa Edwards pointed out, the case was a classic example of the “unconscious rape victim” narrative, with direct ties to campus rape culture, as well as campus drinking culture—and Vandenburg’s attorneys in turn gave a defense typical of these tropes. On the day the crime occurred, the ex-football player—who had been day-drinking with his teammates, was “too drunk to form the necessary intent to direct or encourage players he didn’t even know to commit the crime.”
The prosecution, however, “portrayed Vandenburg as a villain who betrayed a woman who trusted him by plying her with alcohol and encouraging others to violate her,” AP reported.
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Image via AP.