Attorneys: PSU's Franklin contacted victim in Vanderbilt rape case
April 29, 2014 11:30 PM
Penn State football coach James Franklin
By Mark Dent / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Penn State coach James Franklin contacted a woman who alleged she was raped by four Vanderbilt football players in June, according to court filings by a player’s attorneys and reported Tuesday by the Tennessean.
In the filing, defense attorneys claim Franklin, the former Vanderbilt coach, and Dwight Galt, now Penn State’s strength and conditioning coach, contacted the victim four days after the rape to explain “that they cared about her because she assisted them with recruiting,” according to the newspaper in Nashville, Tenn.
The attorneys also wrote in the filing that, at some point, “Coach Franklin called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get fifteen pretty girls and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules. He added that all the other colleges did it.”
Aggravated rape charges were filed against football players Brandon Vandenburg, Corey Batey, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie. A fifth player, Chris Boyd, pleaded guilty to covering up the rape. Franklin kicked all five off the team.
Penn State did not respond to a request for comment. The Tennessean reached Franklin by cell phone, and he said “he was not interested in talking.” The Penn State Coaches Caravan’s first stop is Thursday in State College, and Franklin is scheduled to be available for questions from the media and fans.
According to several media reports last year, the prosecution cleared Franklin of any wrongdoing. A report from Buzzfeed in September quoted an unnamed source that said Franklin encouraged a player to delete a video of the incident — an accusation Franklin has denied.
When Franklin was hired in January, athletic director Dave Joyner said the vetting process was thorough and that he and the search committee contacted several people, including Vanderbilt administrators and officials.
In January, Franklin said of the rape case, “It’s the most challenging thing that I've ever been through personally, as a father of two daughters, and professionally. …We made decisions quickly and tried to do everything we possibly could to respect the situation with the utmost class.”
In a statement Penn State emailed Tuesday night, Franklin said: “The allegations that I did something wrong are simply not true. I have cooperated fully with the authorities in this matter but, out of respect for the legal process, I am not able to comment any further.”
The Tennessean reached Franklin by cell phone earlier Tuesday, and he said “he was not interested in talking.” The Penn State Coaches Caravan’s first stop is Thursday in State College, and Franklin is scheduled to be available for questions from the media and fans.
Mark Dent: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05 First Published April 29, 2014 7:04 PM