NASHVILLE— A former Vanderbilt football player charged with rape told a jury Monday, Jan. 26 that he can’t remember a dorm room sexual assault that prosecutors say he and three of his teammates carried out.
“I was just drunk out of my mind,” Cory Batey testified. “This is something I would never do in my right state of mind. I’m just sorry.”
Batey told jurors that he was horrified when he saw on his cellphone explicit pictures of a woman he’d never met before in his life.
Batey was a 19-year-old who had just come out of his freshman year when he and three of his teammates were charged with raping an unconscious student in a dorm in June of 2013.
The alleged victim in the case cried during his testimony and bent forward, prompting a court official to inquire if she was OK. She testified last week that she has no recollection of being sexually assaulted.
Batey and Brandon Vandenburg are standing trial this week. Both are charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Two other former players who have not gone to trial yet are facing the same charges. Vandenburg additionally faces a charge of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.
All four have pleaded not guilty.
Batey testified that another player told him what happened in Vandenburg’s dorm room. He recalled a warning to delete pictures on his phone.
“I was horrified,” he said of first seeing the images on the phone. “I didn’t know how they got there. I didn’t know what happened to the young lady in the pictures. I immediately deleted them.”
Batey’s attorney has told the jury that the former player was so drunk at the time that he blacked out. His defense has said the culture at Vanderbilt changed Batey.
Throughout the trial, jurors have seen graphic video footage and photos of the sexual assault that police recovered from cell phones and a laptop.
Batey told jurors that it was he who was in the images they saw. He said he took responsibility.
“So, Mr. Batey, today you say that you are accepting responsibility for your actions?” asked Roger Moore, one of the prosecutors in the case. “Does that mean you are changing your plea?”
Batey said no.
Defense attorneys have placed blame on the elite Southern university, saying their clients’ judgment was warped by a campus culture where drunken sex was common.
Graphic evidence and testimony presented in court shows that several others were at least partly aware that an unconscious woman was being taken advantage of or had enough evidence to show that something had happened to her, and did nothing to help her or report it.
The incident came to light only after Vanderbilt officials reviewed a dormitory surveillance video following a report of vandalism. When they reviewed the footage, they saw an unconscious woman being dragged into a dorm room. They called Nashville police, who opened an investigation.