A woman who was raped by former Vanderbilt University football players while she was unconscious in June 2013 has chosen not to attend the third sentencing hearing in the case on Friday.
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Ex-Player Sentenced to 15 Years
During the hearing, Brandon E. Banks, 23, was given a 15-year prison sentence for his convictions of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery. He becomes the third ex-player to be imprisoned in this case. However, a fourth player is still awaiting trial.
Victim’s Absence at Sentencing
At each sentencing, the victim has either appeared or sent a statement to be read on her behalf.
Victim’s Statement Blasts Banks
On Friday, just like before, the victim’s scathing statement was read in court by Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman. Her statement harshly criticized Banks, who, while awaiting trial, has given speeches at various universities about sexual assault.
The Victim’s Full Statement
The victim’s statement in court read as follows:
“Most of the disturbing memories that I constantly relive are connected to Mr. Banks. His attempts to downplay his actions in the surveillance and cellphone recordings do not change what I, along with four juries, have witnessed. Even after four years, he continues to prove that he is the same person depicted in those photos and videos. I implore the court not to be swayed by his transparent attempts to excuse himself in the search for leniency.
“Throughout the duration of this case, I repeatedly emphasized the pain caused by the exploitation of this high-profile situation. Despite this, Mr. Banks chose to capitalize on his status as an athlete and embarked on a national tour, giving speeches about himself and rape while facing seven felony charges from me.
“The only logical conclusion is that he either hasn’t been paying attention to anything I’ve said or done over the last four years, or he is intentionally disregarding my feelings and the continuous pain he inflicts upon me.
“It doesn’t matter how righteous he claims to feel; he is acting against the wishes of the person he gang-raped in the first place. He is using my suffering to his own advantage, distorting the truth when addressing unsuspecting college students who have not seen the incriminating photos and videos of him and his friends sexually assaulting me.
“And now, once again, he is attempting to exploit his rape of me to gain personal recognition. He expects you to view it in a positive light.
“I trust that this court understands there is nothing positive about him promoting himself as anything other than a rapist, and I implore the court to see it for what it truly is: just another lie.
“Mr. Banks made the decision to go to trial when he had other options. Despite the existence of video and photo evidence supporting every aspect of the crimes he was charged with, he insisted on a trial. He could have accepted a significantly shorter prison sentence, sparing me from enduring another trial. However, he deliberately chose to subject me to that ordeal once again and expose my violated body to yet another panel of strangers. He chose to subject me to more emotional turmoil during negotiations. He chose to invite more attention to himself and his actions instead of taking responsibility without making excuses. He chose to shift blame onto others and portray himself as the victim he mistakenly believes he is.
“I am the only person in this entire ordeal who never had a choice.
“I respectfully request that this court impose the maximum sentence allowed by law for everything he has put me through.”
For more information about the Vanderbilt case, visit 5 WS.
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