NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Vanderbilt football player was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of taking part in the gang rape of an unconscious female student.
Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins handed down the sentence for Cory Batey after the victim in the case said her life has been shattered as a result of the rape.
The woman was a neuroscience and economics major when she was assaulted in a dorm on the Nashville campus in June of 2013. In all, four former football players were charged. The Associated Press does not generally identify victims of sexual assault.
The players used their cellphones to take pictures of the rape. One also videoed it and sent the footage to friends as it was happening.
The victim said she learned of what happened to her when detectives showed her the graphic images retrieved from the phones.
During her victim impact statement, she described the horror she felt seeing the images of herself.
"I've seen with my own eyes what I was when Mr. Batey was done with me: a piece of trash, face down in a hallway, covered in his urine and palm prints, a photograph he took himself," the woman said. "There are no words to describe the horror of the images from that night and how it feels to watch yourself be dehumanized."
She wept throughout much of her statement as she described how her life and her belief in the fundamental goodness of people were both upended with the discovery of what happened to her. She said international media attention to the case always left her at risk of being known as the victim.
"What happened to me that night has been compounded by live-streaming, tweeting and international dissemination of every detail of how I was degraded and humiliated for all posterity," she told the court. "In this age of technology, anyone I ever meet in my personal or professional life can learn I am a rape victim and the details of the case before I've fully introduced myself to them."
The sentencing comes amid widespread furor over a Stanford University swimmer who was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on a college campus.
Batey was convicted in April of aggravated rape, which carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years. Prosecutors asked for the maximum, saying the crime was particularly egregious and that the punishment would send a message about campus rapes.
Prosecutors have said Batey urinated on the woman and made a racial statement at the end of the attack. Batey is African-American and the woman is white. One of the four former players is also white. They did not say what the statement was.
The victims said Batey violated her sexually in multiple ways, but it didn't end there.
"Mr. Batey continued to abuse and degrade me, urinating on my face while uttering horrific racial hate speech that suggested I deserved what he was doing to me because of the color of my skin."
Batey, a 22-year-old who grew up in Nashville, apologized for his actions, especially to his family and mother. He also apologized to Vanderbilt University. He testified at one of his trials that he was drunk and blacked out at the time of the rape.
"My mother and family did not raise me in any way to mistreat anyone, let alone a woman, as I have been raised predominantly by women," Batey told the court. "I hope that if not today, maybe one day, you will find it in your heart to forgive me for any damages that I may have caused."
Batey and Brandon Vandenburg were convicted last year, but the verdicts were tossed because a juror did not reveal he was a victim of statutory rape. They have both been convicted a second time. Two other players are awaiting trial.