Former Vanderbilt players in rape case released from jail
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Two former Vanderbilt football players who were convicted in January of raping an unconscious fellow student have been released from jail after a mistrial was declared. Prosecutors have vowed to retry them.
Melinda McDowell, spokeswoman for the Metro Nashville Jail, said Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were released Wednesday.
A judge cleared the way for the release a day after declaring a mistrial because of juror misconduct and setting aside their rape convictions. The judge ordered them to wear GPS monitoring devices if released.
The declaration of a mistrial was a stunning turn of events in a highly publicized case that raised troubling questions about rape on college campuses and the role of bystanders who fail to act.
Vandenburg and Batey had been convicted of multiple counts of rape. They were accused with two other players of assaulting an unconscious female student in a dormitory room in June 2013.
The two other players have yet to stand trial.
Vandenburg and Batey had faced decades in prison when revelations surfaced that the jury foreman in the case was himself a victim of sexual abuse. The judge’s ruling said the justice system cannot tolerate a trial with a tainted juror regardless of the strength of the case.
The trial featured graphic video and photographic evidence showing the unconscious female student being violated in the dorm room. The evidence, prosecutors say, came from footage from the players’ cellphones that was taken while the sexual assault was taking place.
The trial also featured testimony from several athletes at the school who saw the female student in distress but failed to call for help.
An attorney who represents the alleged victim in the case declined to comment ahead of their release.