Judge declares mistrial, throws out guilty verdicts in Vanderbilt rape case
A Tennessee judge granted a motion to declare a mistrial in the Vanderbilt rape case Tuesday, according to WKRN-TV in Nashville, throwing out the guilty verdicts against two former Vanderbilt football players.
The judge “did not address how the case will proceed going forward, and whether a new trial date would be set,” The Tennessean reports.
The attorneys argued that a mistrial should be declared and the verdicts thrown out because the foreman of the 12-person jury did not disclose that he was the victim in a statutory rape case 15 years ago.
The 31-year-old juror testified during a hearing last Monday that he had a consensual relationship with an older man when he was 16 and did not consider himself to be a victim, although the other man was convicted of rape in 2000. The juror called the relationship “inconsequential,” according to The Tennessean, and said he hadn't thought of it until after the trial.
Defense attorneys questioned how the juror could have simply forgotten the incident while being questioned during jury selection. They argue that he intentionally withheld the information.
Batey and Vandenburg are accused of raping an unconscious female student in a Vanderbilt dorm room in June 2013. They were convicted on all charges in January after a 12-day trial. Batey was found guilty on five charges of aggravated rape and two charges of aggravated sexual battery, while Vandenburg was found guilty of the same plus charges tampering of evidence and unlawful photography. Two other former players also face charges in the case but have not yet been tried.
- Dan Gartland