Sep 13, 2013 02:24 PM EDT
Vanderbilt Football Scandal: Chris Boyd Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor, Must Testify in Former Teammates' Trial
Boyd, 21, of Roswell, Ga., will not be reinstated to the team, but he will avoid a felony and accept a misdemeanor that will eventually be erased from his record. In exchange, he has agreed to testify in the trial of his four former teammates who are all facing aggravated rape charges.
Boyd originally faced a class E felony of being an accessory after the fact, but his plea deal lessened the charge to a misdemeanor involving "criminal intent." If he completed 11 months and 29 days of probation, his record will be expunged.
Brandon Vandenburg, 20, of Indio, Calif.; Cory Batey, 19, of Nashville; Brandon Banks, 19, of Brandywine, Md.; and Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie, 19, of Woodville, Miss., all pleaded not guilty to five counts each of aggravated rape and two counts each of aggravated sexual battery.
In addition to those charges, Vandenburg was also charged with unlawful photography for allegedly videotaping the incident and tampering with evidence.
The incident in question occurred on June 23 in a Vanderbilt campus dorm room, which is believed to be Vandenburg's, based on prosecutor Tom Thurman's summary of the events.
Thurman said numerous text messages and phone calls took place between Boyd and at least two of the men accused of rape. At one point, Boyd received a text containing a video of the incident and he deleted it immediately. Boyd also allegedly advised Vandenburg to delete the video.
Thurman said Vandenburg was asking for help the night of the incident and that Boyd and quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels helped move the unconscious girl into a bed in the dorm room.
All four men await trial on Oct. 16 and are free on bond. McKenzie even transferred to Alcorn State University in Mississippi and played in the team's season opener. However, the university president said he was removed from the team Thursday night and the school had made a mistake allowing him on.
Miles Finley, 19, of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., and Joseph Quinzio, 20, of Palm Desert, Calif., two friends of Vandenburg, are also charged with evidence tampering and are awaiting extradition.
Thurman also confirmed there was "no evidence whatsoever" of a cover-up on Vanderbilt head football coach James Franklin's part.
"One of the most difficult things that any person can go through is to be the victim of rumors, unfounded rumors, and know that you're innocent," Franklin's attorney Hal Hardin said of his client. "Some folks probably owe him an apology for spreading those rumors, but he has weathered it like the true champion he is."
Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs Beth Fortune released a statement on Boyd and his potential reinstatement.
"Chris Boyd will remain suspended from the Vanderbilt University football team, pending further review by the university," she said. "We have no further comment on the matter at this time."
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