Vanderbilt Rape Case: Defense Blames Campus Culture, Peer Pressure

An attorney in the Vanderbilt University rape case is blaming campus culture and peer pressure for influencing his client’s behavior. On Friday, attorney Worrick Robinson asked an expert witness to explain whether college life has an impact on students’ behavior and judgement. Although prosecutors objected to the line of questioning, Robinson made his point painfully clear.

Former Vanderbilt University football players Brandon Banks, Cory Batey, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, and Brandon Vandenburg, are accused in the July, 2013, gang rape of a female classmate.

Authorities said the former football players sexually assaulted, filmed, and photographed the victim while she was passed out drunk. The evidence included witness statements, surveillance footage, and images recovered from the suspects’ cell phones and personal computers.

Interestingly, the assault was not reported by the victim. During a police interview, the unnamed women said she was unaware that she was raped until she saw the footage recovered from her classmates’ cell phones.

All four men were eventually arrested and indicted on charges of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery.

As reported by Yahoo! News, Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg are currently on trial. Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie will be tried at a later date.

Although Cory Batey plead not guilty, attorney Worrick Robinson is relying heavily on the fact that his client was heavily influenced by “campus culture.”

In his opening statement, Robinson suggested that his client “walked into a culture that changed the rest of his life.” He took the suggestion a step further while examining neuropsychologist James Walker.


As the Vanderbilt rape case continued, Attorney Robinson asked Walker if there is anything about campus “culture that might influence the way [students] act… the way they think… the way they make decisions.” Walker explained that college students indeed face unique challenges.

“… at that age peer pressure is critical… because you’re just going out on your own, you’re not fully an adult, you’re not fully a child… You tend to take on the behavior of people around you.”

Prosecutors eventually objected to the line of questioning, as Walker had no specific knowledge of Vanderbilt University’s campus culture. However, Robinson made his point well before the objection.

As reported by New York Post, some of the most damning testimony in the Vanderbilt rape case was provided by Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie. Although he denies touching the victim himself, McKenzie said he observed the other men assaulting her while she was clearly unconscious.

[Image via Shutterstock]