Vandy WR pleads guilty to role in rape case

Friday, September 13, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 37

NASHVILLE (AP) - Suspended Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Boyd entered a conditional guilty plea Friday to a role in attempting to cover up the rape of an unconscious student.

According to an account given by Deputy Attorney General Tom Thurman in court, dismissed player Brandon Vandenburg took an unconscious fellow student to his dormitory in the early morning of June 23. He was joined by three other now dismissed players - Cory Batey, Brandon Banks and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie.

All four have pleaded not guilty to rape and aggravated sexual battery charges.

The unconscious student was sexually assaulted "by different individuals," Thurman said.

During an aggravated rape, Vandenburg sent a picture to Chris Boyd, which Boyd deleted, the prosecutor said.

Then Vandenburg called Boyd, telling him the victim had been "messed with" in the hall and sexually assaulted in the room and Vandenburg needed Boyd to come over.

Thurm an said Boyd found the victim in the hall, partially clothed and unconscious. With the help of two others, Boyd carried her into the room and put her on the bed, then left.

Afterward, Boyd sent a text to Vandenburg saying he and the other players who had been there should delete the photos and videos they had taken. Boyd said he was looking out for their interests. He also advised Vandenburg to warn his roommate that "he didn't see (anything)."

Later that day, Boyd's girlfriend sent a text asking Boyd how Vandenburg was doing. Boyd texted back that Vandenburg was "good," adding that his fellow players had deleted everything and that the victim did not remember what had happened.

"Feels bad," Boyd wrote.

Thurman also said that Boyd was not completely truthful with investigators when first questioned about the assault, although he later came forward with additional information.

Boyd received an 11-month, 29-day suspended sentence for criminal attem pt to commit accessory after the fact, a misdemeanor. If he successfully completes his unsupervised probation, his record will be cleared. He also has agreed to testify truthfully if called as a witness in the rape cases against his former teammates.

Vanderbilt University issued a statement after the hearing saying that Boyd remains suspended from the football team pending further review.

Thurman said after the hearing that he does not anticipate there will be any further indictments in the case. He also addressed rumors that Coach James Franklin had seen incriminating video and encouraged a player to delete it.

"There is no evidence whatsoever that coach Franklin was involved in any cover-up or has done anything inappropriate," Thurman said.