By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) – A former Vanderbilt University football player, Cory Batey, was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison for raping an unconscious female student in a dorm room three years ago in a case that drew national attention to sexual assaults on campus.
State prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 25 years but criminal court Judge Monte Watkins gave Batey the minimum term, and he will have to register as a sex offender after being released, a Tennessee state court official said on Friday.
One of four players charged with aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery stemming from the June 2013 incident, Batey was convicted in April of one count of aggravated rape, three counts of aggravated sexual battery and other charges.
It was the second trial and conviction of Batey. He and another player were found guilty in January 2015 but Judge Watkins declared a mistrial because one of the jurors failed to disclose that he himself was a victim of rape.
“The humiliation, the pain, the isolation, being reduced to nothing but a piece of flesh, it does something to you that is impossible to describe,” the victim told the court during the sentencing hearing.
Another former football player, Brandon Vandenburg, 23, was also retried, in June, and was found guilty of five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of unlawful photography. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30.
Both Batey’s and Vandenburg’s retrials were heard by juries brought in from outside of Nashville, because of concern that intense media coverage in the city had made most people in the area form opinions about the case.
The men used cell phones to video their crimes, with those videos playing crucial roles in the convictions.
Vandenburg and the victim, who had been dating, met on that June evening for drinks at a bar popular with Vanderbilt students.Both had been drinking prior to meeting, according to testimony, according to testimony at the trials.
The attack by the four men later happened in his dormitory.
During the April retrial, Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman said that Batey had urinated on the victim, the final act in the 30 minutes of sexual assault. “He violated every principle of human decency,” as well as the law, Thurman said.
The trials of the last two accused former players, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks, have not been scheduled.
(Additional reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Frances Kerry)