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Nashville DA: James Franklin did nothing 'inappropriate' in rape investigation

James Franklin allegedly contacted the victim in the Vanderbilt rape case, per a report. (Keith Srakocic/AP)James Franklin left Vanderbilt after the 2013 season to become the new head coach at Penn State. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

A Tennessee prosecutor said former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin did nothing "inappropriate" in contacting the alleged victim of a rape case involving four former Commodore players, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman told the Post-Gazette on Thursday that Franklin's contact with the alleged victim is not significant to the case and was not inappropriate.

“I can’t comment on it much other than to say the statement we’ve always made is there is no indication that coach Franklin did anything inappropriate in this investigation,” Thurman said.

On Tuesday the Tennessean in Nashville reported that a motion filed by the attorneys for one of the defendants, former Vanderbilt player Brandon Vandenburg, filed a motion alleging that prosecutors mishandled key evidence. The motion also included an allegation that Franklin, now the head coach at Penn State, contacted the alleged victim of the case. Franklin denied the allegation later on Tuesday.

Vandenburg and former Vanderbilt players Cory Batey, Brandon Banks and Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie are each charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery stemming from the alleged rape of a Vanderbilt student in a university dorm last June. Vandenburg has also been charged with one count of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence. Another former player, Chris Boyd, “has pleaded guilty to an attempted cover-up of the rape in return for testimony against his former teammates,” according to the Tennessean.

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