Yesterday, the Tennessean broke news that new Penn State head football coach James Franklin was specifically named in a motion by the defense attorneys for accused rapist (and former Vanderbilt football player) Brandon Vandenburg. Beyond that attention-grabbing headline, though, the actual facts are much murkier:
Referring to records, the attorneys said the victim was contacted by Franklin and Galt during a medical examination four days after the rape to explain "that they cared about her because she assisted them with recruiting."
It went on to say that at some point, "Coach Franklin called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get fifteen pretty girls together 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."
Franklin issued a statement late last night after this news broke:
"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."
I'm no lawyer, and I don't play one on tv. But the cynic in me sees that this is a story, and a headline grabber, solely because Franklin made the move to coach at Penn State--because, of course, Franklin has been cleared by the DA time and again in this case of any wrongdoing, and nowhere does the filing (which our friends over at Onward State have embedded in this news story) suggest that Franklin attempted to coerce the victim into silence, or even speak to her about the alleged assault--it merely states that they contacted her after the rape*.
The cynic in me also thinks that if there was some sort of smoking gun, or even allegations that Franklin had tried to get the victim to stay quiet or speak to her about the attack, we would have heard about them by now--that's not something that a victim's attorney would keep silent about. But, again, I'm not a lawyer; so, what does BSD's crack (current and former) legal team have to say about it?
Just so I'm clear, the only "allegation" is that Franklin/Galt called the victim to offer their support, right?— Adam Collyer (@AdamCollyer) April 29, 2014
So a guy contacted someone with whom he had a prior professional relationship, who had an at-least-tenuous relation to said guys department?— Vic Vinegar (@PSU_JJJ) April 29, 2014
This is a news story because "Penn State" and "rape victim"=news story. And everyone wants to weigh in. So, as Penn Staters, we must weigh in; here's my two cents--let's wait for context, and the legal process to play out. Shocking, I know.
Now seems like a perfect time to re-read this column by Devon, from January.