“I was a happy, hard-working Vanderbilt student looking forward to my future. I’ve seen with my own eyes what I was when Mr. Batey was done with me: a piece of trash, face down in a hallway covered in his urine and palm prints. There are no words to describe the horror of the images from that night and how it feels to watch yourself be dehumanized.”
Social media is buzzing with anger on both sides of the debate over the 15 year sentence handed down to a black man convicted of gang-raping a woman while allegedly uttering harsh racial slurs.Vanderbilt football player Corey Batey was one of four members of the football team charged with repeatedly violating the woman while she was passed out at a party, sexually assaulting her and urinating on her while, according to multiple reports, uttering racial slurs directed at white people. The players were also accused of taking graphic photos as well as videos of themselves with the girl’s limp body, and leaving her face down in a hallway as Batey yelled “That’s for 400 years of slavery you b—-,” as he urinated on the victim’s face .
The massive debate over Batey’s sentence has people on one side enraged that he wasn’t charged with a hate crime for the racially charged attack on a white victim. On the other side of the debate, observers on social media are decrying a relatively tough sentence for a black defendant compared to the light sentence given in California to another convicted college rapist, Brock Turner, who is white.
In the Vanderbilt case, Tennessee’s minimum sentencing provisions played a role: The criminal court judge acknowledged that Batey’s case was “one of the saddest” she’d encountered, and that she recognized giving him the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years would likely ruin his life. “All of the defendants in this case basically have life sentences,” the judge told the court during sentencing. “After they get out of jail or prison they will be on the sex-offender registry for the rest of their lives. That’s a life sentence in and of itself.”
Batey, who cried during the proceedings, issued a tearful apology for his behavior saying “I hope that if not today maybe one day you would find it in your heart to forgive me for any damages I may have caused,” calling the rape an “unintentional tragedy.” His parents and two pastors also spoke on his behalf and asked the victim’s family for forgiveness. “I couldn’t believe it was my son,” mom Audrey Batey said, according to The Tennessean. “I really couldn’t … because I know how he much he cares about people and I know that wasn’t Cory.” She mentions that the rape was “real out of character for Cory.”
Three other former football players were charged in the case. Brandon E. Banks and Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. A jury found Brandon Vandenburg, 23, guilty on all eight counts against him after a separate trial in June. His sentencing is set for today, September 30.