Nashville Deputy DA: PSU's Franklin did nothing wrong in rape case

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The Nashville District Attorney’s Office says Penn State coach James Franklin’s contact with the woman allegedly raped by Franklin’s former Vanderbilt players is not significant and reiterated Franklin hasn’t done anything wrong with regards to the case.

In a phone conversation, Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman, who is leading the prosecution in the case against the former Vanderbilt players, said he has been aware of Franklin’s contact with the alleged victim.

“I can’t comment on it much other than to say the statement we’ve always made is there is no indication that coach Franklin did anything inappropriate in this investigation,” Thurman said.

He said the contact Franklin made with the alleged victim was not significant to the case.

On Tuesday, defense attorneys for Brandon Vandenburg, one of the accused former Vanderbilt players, filed a motion asking for their client’s dismissal and in the motion alleged that Franklin 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 court filings, “and that 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.”

John Herbison, one of Vandenburg’s attorneys, said Franklin’s contact with the alleged victim was relevant because it happened shortly after the alleged rape.

“The communications that the alleged victim had near to the time of the event are very relevant because she is now claiming…and had claimed then that she is unable to remember what happened,” Herbison said.

In the filing, obtained and published by The Tennessean, Vandenburg’s defense claimed that the district attorney’s office destroyed or didn’t preserve key evidence, including video footage, thousands of text message from the alleged victim’s cell phone and text messages from the cell phones of Franklin and Galt.

Franklin released a statement late Tuesday saying, “The allegations 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.”

Mark Dent:, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05 First Published May 1, 2014 12:22 PM

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