Ex-Vandy players plead not guilty in rape case

Three of the four former Vanderbilt football players accused of raping a woman in June pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment held on Wednesday.

The attorneys for Brandon Banks, Corey Batey and Brandon Vandenburg entered the pleas in a Nashville courtroom as the three defendants waived their right to appear. A fourth suspect, Jaborian McKenzie, had previously entered a not guilty plea while also waiving his arraignment rights.

The four, all of whom were dismissed from the team on June 29 in light of the allegations, were indicted earlier this month on five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg, a junior college transfer who was expected to contend for a starting role, faces additional charges of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.

Nashville police contend that the four ex-players raped an unconscious woman inside Vandenburg's campus dorm room on June 23. The university was notified after Vanderbilt officials checked a hallway security camera in an unrelated incident and noticed suspicious behavior by the group.

Discussions for a pending trail were scheduled for September 19. Banks, Batey and McKenzie are presently free on bond, while Vandenburg remains in custody.

Additionally, wide receiver Chris Boyd was indicted last week in connection with the case on charges of being an accessory after the fact. The junior returning starter, who is currently suspended from the team, has been accused by Nashville police of advising the defendants on ways to cover up the alleged crime. He also entered a not guilty plea on Wednesday.

Boyd finished second among Commodore players with 50 catches and 774 receiving yards last season and is on the 2013 watch list for the Biletnikoff Award honoring the nation's top collegiate wideout.

Two other men, Miles Finley and Joseph Quinzio, were also indicted last week on a felony count of tampering with evidence. Both are non-students from California described of acquaintances of Vandenburg.

None of the other four former players in question participated in a game with the Commodores. Banks was a sophomore cornerback, while Batey and McKenzie were redshirt freshmen competing at safety and wide receiver, respectively.