Former college football player found guilty on 2 of 7 rape charges on 4th anniversary of Vanderbilt Univ. sexual assault scandal

By EMILY CRANE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

A former Vanderbilt University football player has been found guilty of aggravated rape in the 2013 gang rape of an unconscious female student.

After deliberating for 15 hours, a jury found Brandon Banks guilty of two out of seven charges on Friday evening, including one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery.

The 23-year-old was found not guilty on five other counts.

Banks now faces up to 15 years in prison for the aggravated rape charge alone. He will be sentenced on August 18. He was emotionless as the verdict was delivered and was taken into custody immediately after.

He was one of four ex-players charged with assaulting the 21-year-old woman in a dorm room at the university in Nashville, Tennessee four years ago.

Banks, whose trial started on Monday, was charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery for his involvement in the gang rape.

Two other men, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, both 23, were found guilty for their involvement. A third ex-player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, testified against the others and is yet to go to trial.

Vandenburg, the woman’s boyfriend, was caught on surveillance cameras carrying her into his dorm room on the night of June 23, 2013. Prosecutors say he handed out condoms to his three teammates and egged them on.

A video allegedly shows Banks assaulting the student with a water bottle, but Banks testified during his trial that he was bullied into participating in the assault.

Prosecutors leaned on the video and graphic photos, some shot by Banks and others by his teammates, to rebut the 23-year-old’s argument that he feared he would get beat up if he didn’t participate in the assault.

The players were encouraging each other, laughing and smiling, prosecutors said.

Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said during the trial that Banks made a choice to participate.

He added that Banks also left the woman lying on the ground in the hallway in the early morning hours ‘like a piece of trash laid out for the garbage collectors to pick up’.

‘Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,’ Moore said in closing arguments, referring to Banks’ bullying allegations.

‘But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense’.’

After deliberating for 15 hours, a jury found the 23-year-old guilty of two out of seven charges of rape on Friday evening

Banks now faces up to 15 years in prison for the aggravated rape charge alone. He was emotionless as the verdict was delivered and was taken into custody immediately after

The victim took to the stand on Wednesday during Banks’ trial. It is the fifth time she has had to testify about the rape.

She described the night at Tin Roof Bar four years ago, where prosecutors said her boyfriend Vandenburg gave her a blue-colored drink.

When Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman asked the woman what she remembered next, she was overcome with emotion.

‘The next thing I remember is waking up alone in a room I didn’t recognize,’ she said.

When Banks took to the stand on Wednesday, he said the woman was on the floor vomiting before the assault and claims he told his teammates that she needed to go to the hospital.

Banks told the court he was going to leave the dorm room when they said they wanted to have sex with her, but his teammates told him he wasn’t going anywhere.

He also said that his teammates had long made fun of him because he was small.

‘When you’re a freshman, it’s called a body count they keep,’ Banks said. ‘When you’re on campus it’s how many girls can you sleep with.’

Brandon Banks   Jaborian 'Tip' McKenzie

Brandon Vandenburg   Corey Batey

Banks, who had a girlfriend at the time, was made fun of and called ‘gay’ because he was always was on the phone with her and didn’t frequently talk to other women.

Having been bullied and intimidated by Vandenburg and Batey, Banks said he followed their commands.

‘He told me to take pictures, too, so I take pictures,’ he said of Vandenburg.

Banks’ cellphone contained 23 of 41 images of the assault, according to Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman.

Norman told the jurors in graphic detail on Monday that a video showed Banks assaulting the student with a water bottle. The players laughed and applauded each other during the rape, Norman added.

Banks’ defense lawyer, Mark Scruggs, had argued that Banks was ‘clearly under duress.’

‘He is the classic example of someone who has been abused by a group, whether it be a football team, a fraternity, or any other group nowadays, that requires complete loyalty, complete obedience,’ Scruggs said.

Vandenburg was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison while Batey is serving 15 years.

Vandenburg, the woman's boyfriend, was caught on surveillance cameras carrying her into his dorm room on the night of June 23, 2013

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