Former Vanderbilt football player again convicted of rape

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS News) – A Nashville jury has found a former Vanderbilt football player guilty on all charges for his role in the rape of an unconscious woman he’d been dating.

It took the jury just over four hours to find 23-year-old Brandon Vandenburg guilty of five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of unlawful photography.

CBS affiliate WTVF reported the verdict was reached nearly three years to the day of the assault, which rocked one of the nation’s most prestigious universities.

The guilty verdict came after six days of grueling, graphic and emotional testimony — most centering around the early morning hours of June 23, 2013, the day an unconscious female student from the dance team was sexually assaulted by several football players inside of a dorm room on the Vanderbilt campus.

Jurors had to decide whether to find Vandenburg guilty for things other men were accused of doing to the female student. His defense maintained he was drunk and should not be held responsible for what the others did. But prosecutors argued that he encouraged the rape and was part of it.

“Within two minutes of getting in that room, Mr. Vandenburg is directing someone what to do with a bottle that is in the victim,” Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman said during closing arguments on Saturday morning.

“He brought her there, he served her up to three strangers; for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter, it’s that he did it,” Norman added.

Before ending her closing arguments, Norman played the 49 second video clip Vandenburg shot on his iPhone, showing the victim being raped.

“Mr. Vandenburg got enjoyment out of it while it was happening, that enjoyment he got at that moment that is him benefiting from his actions,” she added.

Vandenburg could be seen holding back tears in court as his defense team made their final plea to the jury about what they argued was a case built on bad evidence.

“There’s no winners here, no winners… It’s an emotional case, it’s a difficult case,” defense attorney Albert Perez said.

“They are trying to hold him and say he is criminally responsible for these two individuals. Intoxication is a defense to this case you may not like it but it’s the law,” Perez told the jury.

The victim sat just feet away from the man she once trusted, then watched as Vandenburg was escorted out of the courtroom and lead back to jail.

Vandenberg and former teammate Cory Batey were convicted last year, but the verdicts were tossed out because a juror did not reveal he was a victim of statutory rape.

Batey was convicted for a second time in April and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 15.

*Photo via CBS News

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