An investigation led by a Vanderbilt University office concluded that there was insufficient evidence against at least one of four former football players accused in the rape of a student there.
According to an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Department report, the university body found that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that Brandon Vandenburg engaged in "non-consensual sexual intercourse" with the woman. But the report concluded that Vandenburg did invade the student's privacy and "aided in the commission of sexual misconduct as an accomplice."
Vandenburg, 20, from Indio, Calif.; Cory Batey, 19, of Nashville; Brandon Eric Banks, 19, from Brandywine, Md.; and Jaborian McKenzie, 19, from Woodville, Miss., are each charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg also is charged with one count of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.
All four have pleaded not guilty in the June 23 incident and are free on bonds ranging from $50,000 to $350,000. All four were kicked off the football team and barred from campus.
The report is separate from the criminal investigation against Vandenburg and three other players, which is proceeding in court. Still, John Herbison, one of Vandenburg's attorneys, said the findings "could be significant" if the case goes to trial.
"It's the conclusion of a disinterested body that, based upon what they investigated, non-consensual sexual penetration did not occur," Herbison said.
In light of the report, Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said he has complete confidence in the department's investigation and that the details involved in the case will emerge in court.
The report comes on the heels of documents obtained by The Tennessean in December that say the woman at first denied she had been raped and told investigators that she continued to date Vandenburg after the June 23 incident.
Beth Fortune, vice chancellor of public affairs at Vanderbilt, said she couldn't comment on the latest report.
"The Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Disability Services (EAD) investigates possible violations of the university's sexual misconduct policy, which covers a number of offenses," she said. "I cannot comment further."
Brian Wilson contributed to this report. Contact Brian Haas at 615-726-8968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.