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Guilty as charged

A horrible campus culture doesn’t get football players off the hook for rape

Vandenburg (left) and Batey at trial Samuel M. Simpkins/The Tennessean/AP

Guilty as charged
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The jury took only three hours on Jan. 27 to convict former Vanderbilt football players Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg of rape. Each faces at least 15 years in prison for their June 23, 2013, crimes. Yet one player’s failed defense leveled a whole new kind of indictment on the “rape culture” on college campuses.

On the night of the crime, four football players attacked Vandenburg’s girlfriend and ruined all their lives following an alcoholic jumble at a Nashville watering hole—up to 22 drinks for Batey. Batey didn’t remember a thing, and the victim became unconscious. Yet the men made videos of the act, a gang rape that violated the girlfriend in unspeakable ways.

Batey pled not guilty, even as he apologized to the victim from the stand. Worrick Robinson, Batey’s attorney, tried to blame the college culture, which he said compromised Batey’s previously sound judgment.

Vanderbilt may be the 16th-best school in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report, but it’s also Playboy magazine’s No. 7 party school for 2012, for which one student recounted “a real social pressure to party hard.” A culture of drunkenness and casual hook-ups has trivialized how people view sex at colleges, the defense alleged. Combine peer pressure with being blacked-out drunk, the argument went, and such a person isn’t criminally responsible for his actions.

Of course, just as a drunk driver is responsible for those he hurts with his vehicle, Batey and Vandenburg had no legal or moral legs to stand on. However drunken and degenerate many campuses have become, predators are still responsible for their crimes. Batey sat quietly as the guilty verdict was announced, while Vandenburg shook his head “no.” They face sentencing on March 6, and the two other accused former players await trial.

Keeping her medals

Former British Olympic gymnast Jaime Halsey and husband Steve found themselves expecting triplet daughters. But at 12 weeks, doctors saw one was 25 percent smaller and advised the couple to abort two to save a third. They said not a chance, especially with 3-D scans of their daughters’ faces. Now, at six months into the pregnancy, dad reports that all three, despite disparities, are growing well and “are extremely active.” The couple told LifeSiteNews it hopes to reach 30 weeks at the end of February and then “bring all three of them into our happy family.” —A.B.

Lance speaks

Cyclist Lance Armstrong regrets the character of the man who cheated, he told the BBC, two years after forfeiting his seven Tour de France titles and confessing to doping. He said a near ubiquitous culture of drugs made them necessary to be competitive in 1995. “I’m sorry we were all put in that position,” the 43-year-old said, adding he’s unsure he’d change his decision. What he was sorry for, he said, was the man who lashed out at others for honor that ultimately didn’t exist. —A.B.

Andrew Branch Andrew is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD correspondent.


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