Brandon Banks mugshot

Vanderbilt gang rape suspect claims he was ‘bullied’ into it

The trial for the third Vanderbilt University football player to be charged in the 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman began on Monday and the man has pleaded not guilty.

Brandon E. Banks, 23, is charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.The rape happened at the Vanderbilt University dorm in 2013 and was only discovered when university police went to investigate a case of vandalism.

The rape happened at the Vanderbilt University dorm in 2013 and was only discovered when university police went to investigate a case of vandalism.

Video surveillance from Vanderbilt’s Gillete Hall shows four men carrying an unconscious woman in the early hours of June 23, 2013.

It didn’t take long for Metro Nashville police to have the four players under arrest. They each faced five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Brandon Vandenburg and Corey Batey stood trial first in January 2015. After a mistrial was declared because a juror lied about being a victim of sexual assault, the former football players went to trial separately. They were both found guilty. Vandenburg, who was dating the woman at the time, received a 17-year sentence while Batey, who had never met the woman, received 15 years.

Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie has pleaded not guilty to his own charges and testified against the two already convicted. He is expected to testify against Banks.

Banks is claiming that he was bullied into participating in the gang rape. His lawyer, Katie Hagan, claims that Vandenburg “was pressuring and goading” Banks into assaulting the woman.

“You are going to see some things in these photographs and the videos about Brandon Banks that are going to make you mad at him, and they are going to make you dislike him. But despite those things, the proof in this case will show that Brandon Banks is not guilty of the crimes that he is charged with in this indictment.”

Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman told jurors about a video that shows Banks assaulting the victim with a water bottle. His phone held 23 of the 41 images of the assault.

He also said that the football players could be heard cheering each other on as they repeatedly raped the unconscious woman.

The woman, a 21-year-old Neuroscience major at the time, says she has no memory the assault. She only remembers Vanderburg giving her a blue drink at a bar. He told her later on that he cared for her when she got too drunk.

[Feature photo: Metro Nashville Police Department]