NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Vanderbilt football player charged with rape told a jury Monday 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.
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 2013.
The alleged victim in the case was doubled over and crying in her seat in the courtroom and appeared to be vomiting while Batey was on the stand. She testified last week she had no recollection of being sexually assaulted. The Associated Press generally does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes.
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.
Throughout the trial, jurors have seen graphic video footage and photos of the sexual assault that police recovered from cellphones and a laptop.
Batey testified Monday that he was awakened by another player who warned him to delete photos off his phone.
“I didn’t know how they got there,” he said. “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.
Batey told jurors that he grew up in Nashville and was one of 13 siblings. His father died from lung cancer when he a child, he said, and he was able to go to Vanderbilt on a football scholarship.
He said that he was drinking heavily before the incident. He estimated that he drank six to eight shots of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey and chased it with a mixture of Jack Daniels and Coke. Afterward, Batey said, he and his friends went to a party at another dorm on campus and he drank four to six shots of liquor.
“I can remember stepping out and using the restroom and just saying to myself, ‘Man, I’m really feeling it,'” he said.
From there, Batey said he went to a parking lot outside a dorm and drank about four to six flavored beers.
Throughout the testimony, Batey looked directly at jurors. He also repeatedly apologized when he and the prosecutor spoke at the same time, even when the prosecutor interrupted his testimony, saying, “I’m sorry. You go ahead.”
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?” prosecutor Roger Moore asked. “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. The evidence and testimony presented in court shows several others were at least partly aware that an unconscious woman was being taken advantage of or that something had happened to her, but they did nothing to help her or report it.
The incident came to light only after Vanderbilt officials reviewed a dormitory surveillance video after 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.