Ex-Vanderbilt Football Player Sentenced to 17 Years for Rape

Image via AP.
Image via AP.

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.

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This same thing happened to me before the days of video. My boyfriend “shared” me with his friends in a dorm room after I had passed out from drinking. I only had odd Rosemary’s baby type remembrances, and could very well have thought I had dreamt the whole thing until the next morning, when he actually bragged about it to other students in front of me. After that, I was treated as a “dumb slut”. This has haunted me my entire life. I have no doubt this sort of thing happened quite a bit in the days before iphones and easy access video. People like this do not see women as fully human or perhaps, they don’t see anyone but themselves as fully human. I now have no doubt that the man who orchestrated my attack was a sociopath. I hope Vanderburg along with the others who raped her spend enough time in jail to fuck up their life just enough that they have to earn it back.