Brandon Vandenburg’s friends react to the Vanderbilt rape case verdict

Update:  January 31, 2015:

  Since writing this piece was contacted by Evan Andrew Ross. Turns out while the California crew all shun Brandon now, they remain friends with Brandon’s California Co-defendants.  Meaning, they’ve learned zip. Also learned Evan has reading issues, and their entire group subtweet attacks on me from behind blocked accounts. Some people live and learn; and some people, don’t.


Post verdict, people are understandably curious about the reaction of Brandon Vandenburg’s friends.  Partly because the defense was utterly defensed, but more particularly because most of Brandon’s friends were resolutely behind their high school and college buddy – including after the ‘cooperation’ of Brandon’s friends, who also became “Co-Defendants.”  That’s a strong bond.

Vandenburg - The good ole days

Vandenburg – The good ole days – before adding Defendant and Co-Defendant to list of accomplishments.

But people are also curious because high school is generally the first time most kids experience placing their trust someone else, (and why everyone remembers their first love) harder, is trusting someone once cocaine enters the picture.  So while it’s fair to mention Brandon’s cocaine use was not a key point at trial, Brandon’s admitted usage did come out at trial.  Thus, one has to wonder when and where cocaine began to factor into Brandon and his friend’s lives and how that added wrinkle did or didn’t impact their belief system.

That said, growing up adding birthdays with this California crew did/does involve many hours drinking, then recovering from the after-effects, pretty much, full time.

Vandenburg - Drunks are us

Friends: Drunks are us

I mention this as the verdict served up one very sober reality check and added curiosity factor.  The verdict was sort of like watching the end of the train wreck.  Passengers start coming out – dazed but happy – and pretty soon as the reality they’re alive hits; it’s

“Wow.  I survived a train wreck!  That was close!”

The first clue arrived almost immediately.  Evan Andrew Ross noticed Brandon’s old high school flame, Amanda Perez, was in Nashville and seated to the right of Brandon’s mom, Shawna Vandenburg.Amanda Perez in court

(Amanda Perez (left), in Nashville Criminal Court listening to jury instructions in the Brandon Vandenburg sex crimes case.)

Evan’s tweet was the first to ask:  “why the fuck is Amanda walking in with them”
and with that an observer could sense a shift in Brandon developed, finely-honed narrative.

Evan’s tweet was a reaction to what might have felt like a blindside. He could acknowledge what he was seeing, but had no idea why.  Like most, it turns out the sudden realization one is not in possession of valuable information, works great as a denial breaking eye-opener. Your core gets it.  However, there is generally some travel time involved before core meets cranium.

Still, eventually, it gets there.

Vandenburg - Vandenbuirg freind - why is Amanda walking in with them

Evan Andrew Ross first notices Amanda Perez


Amanda Perez in happier times

Amanda and friend welcoming the new year.

While the Vandenburg family pulled out all the emotional stops for Brandon; the look on Amanda’s face in court seemed to indicate she might have been rethinking a lot of things, and as much as she loved the family, returning to her current life was something Amanda might be anxious to do.


That aside, reaction was swift, if not introspective. No one seemed to mind the reading of Finley’s texts, “You’re gonna get in trouble – get out of there – she could call rape.” or “Team Miles and Joey” because they (eventually) came clean.

Vandenburg - Brandon other female-male friends - scumbag

Vandenburg – Brandon’s other female-male friends – scumbag

Then, for some, introspection kicked in.

Vandenburg - Vandenburgs female friends - 2

Brandon Vandenburg’s outraged friends

Mind blown” was an initial reaction

Vandenburg - Finley - Mind blown

Mind blown

A few thought of the victim, first.

Vandenburg - Ryann Stacey - Direct to Brandon

Vandenburg – Ryann Stacey – Direct to Brandon

Some remained stuck on “the league” Note the 18 favorites in the tweet below.
(In fairness, this is America.  Our culture clearly favors football over raped women. Exhibit A being the verdict didn’t make national headlines while deflated footballs continues to dominate.)

Vandenburg - Finley - header

Finley in caps

But ultimately, the reaction is what anyone might expect.  The kids want what everyone wants.  To lick their wounds privately.  Time to get together so they can get it together.  Time to ask each other how were they fooled for so long.  Because this, this horrible thing Brandon did that night and the days and nights afterward to cover up his crimes (including blaming the victim for getting sick). Well, that’s one of those, core-shattering, “I can’t trust my judgment” kind of curve balls life will serve up.  And this hit ’em all right in the face.

And that takes time to sort out.

Vandenburg - Brandon Vandenburg's other friends

Always a beverage!

The other reaction kids had?  That’s easy.  They’re not fond of talking about this to anyone but each other.

Vandenburg - Vandenburg friends reaction to Verdict - no reportersI wish them all much success in their careers…and happy times at their various reunions.


About bonnie russell

It's not about’s always about people.
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62 Responses to Brandon Vandenburg’s friends react to the Vanderbilt rape case verdict

  1. parke says:



    • Well, it’s not the only issue most have, but I agree with you in that James Franklin, who has two daughters, broke some kind of land-speed record leaving town.

      Also, if you have proof of a secret offer communicated by telephone; please share details. Am thinking Vanderbilt threw lots of settlement money in her direction so she wouldn’t sue. But that’s just pure speculation on my part.

      One last thing. Vanderbilt didn’t create the College Rape culture. It was decades in the making. Much like the military women. Rape is Congressionally approved.


  2. CoastalChick says:

    Where is Brandon’s sister Briana? I saw birth information on her with a birthdate less than two months before Rod & Shawna married. Her mother’s maiden name is the same as Shawna’s, but I have never seen one photo of the entire family nor any mention of her by Shawna. Just curious why she seems to be the only absent family member.


    • The problem with mainstream media is their almost, less-than-zero interest, in women and their welfare, in general.

      It’s not Brandon’s sister. It’s generally all women. After all, when Nicole Simpson called the police on OJ, the officers wound up asking for his autograph.

      The system bias against women in general is why women who have been attacked, are forced to call the one government agency with the highest rate of domestic violence in their own families. The police. See these examples.

      That said, in Brandon Vandenburg’s case, the police were totally On It. From the get.


      • CoastalChick says:

        I’m not talking about media coverage of his sister. Was just wondering if she is estranged from the family since she is completely off the radar. She recently posted a video of Brandon’s high school football highlights on her Facebook page, but I have yet to see any photos other than one of her and Rod together. Again, just curious.


  3. g8 inspiration…………


  4. Erin Jordan says:

    Bonnie Ive enjoyed reading this Blog and look forward to your insight in the future.
    My nephew attended the local Jesuit high school with BV. I understand when speaking to a couple of parents there were many misgivings regarding Brandon’s behavior and not just in basketball and football and yet again administrators chose to allow it. Why? As I understand in this school’s case $$$ speaks volumes which is ashame as I understand Jesuit religion is suppose to provide students morals etc. However my nephew recently advised me Myles was expelled in his Senior year from this very school…. I’m curious Bonnie, were you aware Brandon attended a Jesuit high school?


  5. Will says:

    I stumbled on this blog very randomly and usually never post anything online but I felt the need to write something today.

    It’s so very disturbing that they were released from prison. I can’t imagine how the victim feels right now with them out and this entire situation makes me very nervous about my son’s life as I am a new father to a healthy young baby boy. I get so worried about my son’s future encounters with perpetrators like these when he is growing up. I know they are out there and when my son is older I will not be there to protect him.

    I went to high school with a young man who ended up killing his grandparents and writing himself a check for $50,000. He was arrested after he tried to cash that check at their local branch. He was actually a very good football player and I’m sure he received special treatment for his talents on the field. He was 17 when he killed them and 2 of his friends helped. They are all serving life sentences in Georgia now.

    I played sports myself with this person. I also remember drinking alcohol with this young man at high school parties before he committed this horrible act. My group of friends, family, and I never thought him or anyone really would ever be capable of doing anything like this. We were naive. It was horribly tragic at the time and I still think about it. Monsters walk among us.

    I passed the prison where this person will spend the rest of his life as I was driving back to North Carolina last weekend. We were visiting my parents who share the unconditional love that my wife and I have for our first child. I hope my son will never spend a day of his life in prison and will do everything I can to teach him to respect the life of any creature. I actually spent a bit of time trying to find information on this person and found his mugshot. He is the same age as I am, 30. I can’t imagine life without my wife and son while I sit in prison. I can’t imagine being sent to prison at 17 and I can’t imagine committing such a heinous act.

    Reading your blog and especially the comments from the anonymous poster who went to high school with the rapists is intense to say the least. Again, I get very worried about predators like these men who I won’t be able to protect my son, and it makes me remember what it was like to grow up and play football. The best athletes really did get special treatment. There is peer pressure which can be very intense. There are coaches who will certainly cheer on the player who gets away with abusing his/her opponents on the field. This makes me think back to some experiences from high school and college that I was aware of but nothing nearly as bad as what happened to the poor young woman in this case.

    I guess the best my wife and I can do is teach our son what is right from wrong and to keep it “real” as Bonnie wrote. I’m really not sure what else to type other than it is all so terrible for everyone involved. Again, I’m not sure what else to type except that I hope everyone who reads about this tragedy can learn from it and that we can teach our children to respect one another and themselves. However the social media comments from the perpetrators’ friends and family really make me worried about something similar happening to a loved one and especially to my son.


    • Thanks for your feedback. Since you are new will mention Brandon sat out much of his senior year on the football team for what the coach described as an attitude problem. Also, Brandon picked up another assault charge back in California while out on bail.
      His parents are divorced. Mom is very much the Republican church lady type who refuses to see anything wrong with him, and the father seems to be a blowhard with his own issues concerning women. I would show your wif this case (I have written about it since the beginning) and encourage a frank, family conversation. God bless.


  6. Pingback: The Ick Factor: CBS continues protecting Jacob Robbins, Sean MacDonald and Adam Nagel from their sex crime tweeted intentions | Media and the courts

  7. NJPM says:

    After reading the post of the blogger I can say that I stand corrected . I was trying to give a young man the benefit of the doubt. This will haunt him for his entire life. I was not aware that Batey had made that remark either , not that it matters, since he deserves his punishment for what he did, not what he said. I do enjoy reading the blog.


    • Appreciate your response; and the question that must be asked – is: Why would anyone want to try “to give a young man the benefit of the doubt” given what was available from the coverage beforehand? Again, Mack Prioleau is about as far away as an example of a “young man” as one can get and still be on planet Earth. Indeed, the general reporting contained enough information as to Mack Prioleau’s non-reaction, that many people wanted Prioleau charged; given he was the only, sober guy who said he “felt uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do

      Interestingly, your response underscores my thought the Defense had no defense. Their case was in my opinion, Malpractice.

      Why would the defense blame “alcohol” when Mack was sober and the woman was still brutalized.

      However, there is no law against cowardly and apathetic to suffering.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. newprude says:

    Bonnie you want to respond to this? I can’t without getting banned from your site. I’ll just say this. This wasn’t about two drunk kids having sex. This was about an unconscious woman lying lifeless on a floor half naked while four men assaulted her.


  9. NJPM says:

    I think you are being too hard on Prileau. He probably did not fully comprehend the nature of what was happening. Plus, people just simply don’t snitch on their friends . I went to college in ny state and an incident occurred in my dorm. The police were called. I was questioned as a witness. The girl was drunk. The guy was drunk. A few of us were playing poker in the room while the two of them started getting it on, basically . So, we all left . Then the girl called the police the next day . The guy was not arrested . A couple of my friends smacked the guy around a few days later. I did not know the guy. I knew the girl. . The point was that it never even occurred to me, at 20, to do anything other than leave the room. To think that Prileau had some duty to intervene or even call the police is unrealistic and harsh .


    • Assuming what you wrote is true, P McClusky: That

      A. you attended college, and
      B. can count high enough to comprehend math strategies and probabilities well enough to play poker; let’s review! Let’s review by the numbers.

      You expect myself and every thinking person to believe 1 sober college student in a room less than a 12 inches away from 4 drunk guys – maybe more; who witnessed a single, that’s 1 unconscious woman who was being used as sports-bonding gang-rape toy,

      “did not fully comprehend the nature of what was happening”
      throughout an ongoing 29 minute attack. An attack which included Corey Batey urinating on the unconscious woman, then stating “That’s for 400 years of slavery.”

      This was what Mack Prioleau, heard through-out the attack.

      He also heard a woman whose body was slapped hard enough to leave red hand prints on her, (to affirm she wouldn’t awaken prior to them continuing) days later.

      And Mack Prioleau also heard one other thing.


      Mack Prioleau also testified he heard laughing and the playing of porn during the 29 minute assault. So worse is: Mack Prioleau testified he might do the same thing were he ever the same situation again. (Are you taking notes, ladies?)

      And while you think I’m being too hard on Mack Prioleau, P McClusky, you use as a comparison, your experience. 1 drunk college student boy and 1 drunk college student girl, both of whom were VOCAL. As in both were conscious. You really want to use that as a comparison? Where’s the common sense with your logic?

      Will close with this. Although Mack Prioleau in my opinion, hands down wins as Coward of Decade – you have certainly no great strength in logic. By your own admission in your area, at least some of the woman’s real friends (not you) acted afterward. Your excuse was you only knew her. So the take-away is anyone could surmise you’d be a Mack Prioleau, too. Unless, possibly, you were friends with the victim. You were a little unclear on that.

      Regardless, P. Mc Clusky, here’s your lesson.

      My belief is people don’t recover from the kind of cowardice Mack Prioleau demonstrated. That kind of cowardice and disregard for others is embedded to the bone. Prioleau might not have done anything if his Mother was in the same situation. Why? Because these jackals were participating in what was clearly a sports related-gang-bang bonding moment; and Mack is from Texas where football is religion, and so very much wanted to be part of the “team.” So my guess is the odds are just even were Mack’s mother in the same situation. Perhaps though, perhaps there’s hope for you.

      Watch this 56 second video clip to see what real bravery looks like.
      Perhaps you can learn something from a hero, who saved a little boy who was being dragged away by a vicious dog.

      The bravery demonstrated was by 1 heroic cat. A cat who went after the dog, twice. Yep. 2 times.

      A cat who in addition to being brave, expressed more common sense than you have, throughout your entire reasoning process.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. John Doe says:

    Here’s my take, I’ll say this, and then I’m probably done with the comments on here. The one thing Brandon and I have in common is our age. 21.

    And all I can say is, I don’t think it’s fair to be shining the light on his parents regardless. We’re both 21. Not children, (as much as some of the mothers on here would like to think so, and I say this respectfully), but grown men. Adults. I think that by shining the light away from a person and onto the parents, we unjustly take away blame from the people who actually merit it. He made a grown decision to start using cocaine, to go to the Tin Roof, become inebriated, along with everything else. He made a grown decision, and now like a grown man he can take accountability for it. We should stop, to be blunt, babying him by letting him hide and take blame. I know Brandon enough to say this is how we got here. Everyone babying him and not letting him learn accountability.

    As bad as people think Brandon destroyed his life, truth is he at least has some way to influence the outcome by pandering to the judge. The girl on the night had no way to protest or influence what was going on while unconscious. There is no amount of jail time that can undo the damage he did.Truly, should anyone but the people involved with that night be held to account? I appreciate your question, but it was Brandon who committed this heinous act and is where the burden of responsibility lies, not with his parents.


    • Thanks for responding and of course we in no way, are not thinking Brandon shouldn’t be punished. That said, parenting does play a role, and as I see the damage began, via entitlement, long before he ever hit the Nashville campus, in part because as you indicated, no accountability.

      Also, Brandon is a great example of how not to conduct oneself. So in that area, he’s teaching others.

      Thanks for responding, we appreciate your input, and have a good evening!


    • Sharon says:

      I concur with what Bonnie said. I do think he’s been spoiled and pampered all his life, but yes, he is adult, and needs to be held accountable. The look on his face when the verdict was read was priceless: he couldn’t believe he’d been found guilty.

      Thank you for your comments, it’s fascinating.
      (P.S.. former 29 Palms resident here. I miss the desert, but not the summers! I now deal with -20F temperatures in winter.)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. sharon says:

    Thank you John Doe for your comments. Do you know his parents? Is it your opinion that’s where his attitude came from?


  12. Both sides read the comments. In my area, reader comments helped solve the kidnap-rape-murder of a Girl Scout, Danielle Van Dam.

    Post conviction the DA thanked readers who made a suggestion the DA hadn’t thought of. The DA followed up and it turned out to break the case. The suggestion? Danielle had been in Westerfield’s house with her Mom, selling Girl Scout cookies. Her hair was long. A couple weeks later Danielle’s hair was cut in preparation for a trip to Europe. Readers said the DA had of course, measured the length of the one hair found. They hadn’t, but promptly, did. It was the newer, cut length. That one hair did it. And the DA thanked the readers online, posting their thoughts.


  13. Moms Hugs says:

    Appreciate John Doe’s comments posted above. He underscored the reasons why Brandon was benched for the entire season; and in all likelihood those same attributes will make BV a highly successful prisoner… well, unless fellow black prisoners see him as the reason for the downfall of Batey & the Bros. They might take him down a peg or two.


  14. newprude says:

    I just watched the 20/20 piece and all I can say is WOW. Now I understand why the jury agreed that Corey Batey’s testimony hurt him. He claims to be so drunk that he can’t remember. But that hallway video shows him up and about snapping pictures, conversing with others in the hallway, smiling. He’s not stumbling like a really intoxicated person. He looks perfectly fine. It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.


  15. Thanks. I am but am also waiting on some answers I am checking out.


  16. Moms Hugs says:

    Bonnie ~ Hope you’re thinking of posting the 20/20 issues separately. ~ Moms Hugs


  17. Deborah Hamilton says:

    Thanks again. Like a Shakespeare play this case is unbelievably tragic and riveting, peppered throughout with bits of behavior so stupid they are almost comic. I so much agree with you that our culture’s deep misogyny is playing out here.


  18. Deborah Hamilton says:

    20/20 is clearly the television program referred to in the JRN Channel 5 story, ‘Video Leaked in Vanderbilt Rape Trial’ on January 31. The story includes a statement from the Nashville DA that the videos were sealed by judge’s orders, and their showing could lead to further legal action. Do you know anything about this?

    Bonnie, you’ve done great work on this story. Thanks for all of your insights.


    • Thanks Deborah. The short answer is there appears to be no shortage of clips. (Which makes sense considering the number of individual idiots involved.)

      As I understand it, the local CBS affiliate had the best sources on the case from the jump. In that regard, CBS was first to receive and air (last year) an “Exclusive” clip prior to any court orders. Which means their clips weren’t covered by the judge’s order. However, in a classy move as well as not to burn any future sources, CBS elected not to re-air the footage it until the verdict. (A separate question being why didn’t 48 Hours get the story instead of 20/20 – but that’s a different matter altogether.)

      Verdict: Tuesday
      Wednesday: Judge continues to keep all footage under seal for reasons that some media people are claiming to be puzzling. They are saying “trial over, etc” But it’s obvious to me why the judge did so. Not all defendants have been tried…and they are going to show up on what had been sealed.
      Friday: ABC’s 20/20 airs and the DA freaks out. CBS reported some of the jury hadn’t seen the clips. I can’t verify whether that is accurate, but that is what CBS reported. Anyway, back to the DA freaking out. He issues the following statement:

      “Neither the District Attorney’s office nor the Police Department has ever released any video from this case to the media. The video which aired Friday night, may have been in violation of Judge Watkins’ protective order.”

      This means one of two things.
      1. The DA or the PD has a leak they are unaware of; or – (and more interesting for me),
      2. That a source exists whom both the PD and DA missed.

      Either way, brand-new wrinkle.

      So, will the DA go after ABC and if so, will ABC protect their source?
      Will the victim go after ABC for accidentally revealing her identity?

      Regarding the leaked videos, either way, you can bet the defense will try to make hay with it for the next batch of Defendants.
      Only two verdicts are in. The case isn’t over.


    • Moms Hugs says:

      I’d like to weigh in on this inquiry if I may. Who had the most incentive to get paid? Follow the money to answer that query – how attorneys are getting paid if not public defenders on the county payroll. High profile cases such as this one lead to media/book deals by attorneys in order to get paid. All of these attorneys have a right to discovery & have had access to ALL videos, interrogations, etc. – some of which they had BEFORE the judge’s gag order. I may be wrong, but you can toss a violation of gag order into the mix along with the motion for mistrial, and something begins to smell a bit rotten … and NOT in Denmark.


  19. MR360 says:

    I get how confused and upset Brandon’s ex friends must be. He is clearly very persuasive and must have some modicum of personal charm. He managed to make the victim promise to “do everything in her power to clear his name” at first. At their age, these ex friends have little to no experience with psychopaths,sociopaths,and other criminal deviants. I hope they won’t be too hard on themselves for not seeing it or being in denial. The shock will wear off,reporters will stop calling and they can go on. To the ex friends: Just remember that your own words and photos can and will be used. By friends,by enemies,by employers,by attorneys and just about anyone else you can imagine. Now and 20 years from now. I am sure you have heard this before,but it is time to take it as gospel truth. Bonnie has been more than fair in her reporting. I know you can’t see it,but she has. I wish you kids well. Good luck.


    • Barbara Gordon says:

      I think this is very good advice. The update concerning the CA co-defendants is interesting. Finley in particular made some problematic texts which were highlighted in last night’s 20/20 expose. News reports say he hasn’t taken the deal offered to him yet, I wonder if the same deal will be on the table for long?

      Finley, Prioleau, and others involved in this are going to learn the hard way exactly what you said, employers will look at this.

      Thanks to the permanence of the digital age, it will follow them for their entire lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • newprude says:

        Care to give a sysnopsis of the 20/20 program? I missed it. They bring up anything new? What was the tone of the piece? These boys should be very lucky the end of the trial coincided with SuperBowl activities. Otherwise this would have a hell of a lot more media attention than it did.

        And I totally agree with the advice of keeping some things private. Once you put something “out there” is there forever. Electronic forensics is a field that is growing by leaps and bounds. There’s nothing you can do if someone wants to find deleted info. How many times are we going to here about someone implicating themselves because of a Google search? Brandon Google something about how to hide text from police.


      • Barbara Gordon says:

        I was able to watch it on-line here: The show some how obtained hall surveillance video of that night and also replayed a few bits from the trial. Finley said in one text “Dog kick that b***h out or gang bang her. Don’t let her wake up.”


      • Dorothy Rothchild says:

        Your comment above about the mom doubling down is so spot on. That was exactly my thought as well – how can she continue to defend this kid after seeing such horrific videos and hearing him laughing in the background? My guess is that she probably hasn’t seen them because she didn’t want to have to accept what was there and then have to face the fact she’s been defending a monster all this time. I also wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t mortgage her house to help cover the costs of his legal defense since the family does not appear to be wealthy. I’m sure that writing that second check for the next 30 years will serve as a painful reminder.

        Perhaps Bonnie can answer a question about the trial. Were the jurors shown the graphic videos in private? I’m assuming they weren’t played in front of the entire courtroom, correct?


  20. Moms Hugs says:

    Given you are deeply involved with family courts & located in San Diego, I’m surprised you haven’t looked up the Vandeburg’s divorce yet. He was 5-6 years old when his twin brothers were born & his parents split not too many years later – when he was entering his early teen years. Those are the years kids really need stability at home with dad & mom treating each other with love & respect as their role models to develop normal relations.

    Photos from their Facebook pages indicate both were with other people by 2009. His mother went back to college, become a teacher & is now engaged to a coach (may be a teacher also), but he wasn’t with her in the courtroom. His father’s photos show him with a nice lady, but she doesn’t look like the same woman with him in the courtroom. There are also photos of Brandon with a nice girl, who was sitting with his mother in court. Since you found a text indicating her name, have you been able to identify her as the daughter of Mr. Perez, his Calif. attorney?

    All in all, they look like a nice, typical family with twins that stressed them right when the real estate market in Calif. collapsed. IMHO, not knowing this family, both likely placed a great deal of stress on his parents leading to a divorce & leaving Brandon to his own devices at a crucial age. Nothing more, nothing less. I am sure both they & their now significant other partners are struggling with these questions as they struggle to maintain their work & home life as well as prepare for their son’s incarceration. They didn’t do the terrible deeds – he did & must face the consequences. The rest of us who have followed this case need to remember “But for the grace of God go I” and with empathy, show some sympathy for them… or we will lose touch with our own humanity.

    Now on to whether or not one juror will make a retrial necessary. Until March 6th then….


    • Please don’t assume I am not in regular contact with friends of the family. Also, please know just because I haven’t written about something, doesn’t mean I haven’t investigated it. Also, if you read through the comments I responded to, you will discover in about two seconds I have repeatedly encouraged people not to paint the twins with the same brush as their older brother. The comments on the FB page by Shawna reveal while she is not quite ready to accept who her older son is, she is quite willing to mislead people about him; including failing to mention he was arrested for assault while he was out on bail. I have heard from former classmates who mention Brandon’s arrogance, and that he played dirty…as well as his former friends, who seem to spend a lot of time drinking, going to the gym, and now, trying to distance themselves from him, and attacking me due to their reading comprehension issues. Like most 20 year olds who post their every thought online; while exhibiting almost zero insight, they remain continually surprised and annoyed when people notice.


      • Moms Hugs says:

        Thank you for your kind reply. Brandon’s friends will soon move on as fast as their thumbs can type on a screen. I agree with Newprude in some respects about family history; however, that history can help explain to those of us following this case how he could become such an unfeeling brute, aka socio/psychopath (whichever fits). This subject is relevant to my 2 grown children who are raising their children. This subject matter is being heavily discussed by them & their friends with kids. It is especially pertinent to the oldest who faces this behavior in a Catholic H.S. herself. It is also relevant to whether society can rein in such behavior before it gets worse & spills over into following generations. Please “keep on keeping on” with insights in this regard & I will continue to follow your blog. It is truly appreciated. Thank you. ~ Moms Hugs


      • Thanks. I believe the case underscores both our culture of utter contempt for women including some women who don’t realize identifying as say, “Party bitch” is ultimately, harmful. Am not sure about Some of Brandon’s former friends moving on. Amazingly, a few are only now realizing their ongoing series of drunken selfies aren’t helpful, (however, ever juvenile, a couple of the males blame me for noticing.) some also very unclear on the concept of investigations as it relates to the very same series of public, drunken selfies. So of course in their narrow world, this constitutes “trolling” only because they just aren’t connected to the world outside their base. One sees This kind of cluelessness in high school, but it’s usually gone by college. Also, I am not clear myself on sociopathic behavior and sociopaths. Learned? Inborn? I lived in Utah the same time as Ted Bundy. Bundy was cordial, handsome, extremely social…and frightening. I believe Brandon’s behavior would have escalated had he not gotten caught. Not to a Bundy degree, (who evidenced homicidal tendencies as a child) but perhaps to a Bill Cosby degree. I have no problem seeing that. The good news is the case legally signals the end of blaming victims after a gang attack. Of course there will always be some who will blame the victim, but only because this country doesn’t suffer from a idiot shortage.

        Liked by 1 person

    • newprude says:

      I’m not so much concerned with their family history per se. My “judgement” comes from the behavior after the rape and up to the verdict. Denial is the word that comes to mind. The fact that the were ok with the “party culture” defense is astounding. Something just didnt register here. Brandon’s mom attempted to slander the victim helped in the cover up and seems to be hiding behind Jesus now. Again the look of shock on Brandon’s face when the verdict was read is priceless.


      • Moms Hugs says:

        Appreciate your views, newprude, and for the most part agree. The most telling photo, IMHO, was when Brandon looked over his attorney’s shoulder at his father. The eyes of Brandon Vandenburg as Perez hugs him in tears (a normal reaction) were filled with anger & the look of a sociopath/psychopath. Apparently, the NY Times agreed since they chose that one photo to accompany their article about Vanderbilt students after the verdict. I can’t embed it here, but perhaps Bonnie can.

        Liked by 1 person

      • newprude says:

        I know the photo you’re talking about. The cold, steely stare where you could almost feel the anger welling up in him. His attorney was giving him a full body hug and he was as tense as a board. I’m actually referring to his initial response when the verdict was read. There’s a clip on the Tennesean web page. Brandon has a deer in headlights look and you can see tears well up. As they continue to read the verdicts to the rest of the charges his dad gives this loud, distraught cry. He turns to look and more tears are forming and he starts shaking his head “no” and whispers something to his attorney. Later it was revealed he asked “what just happened”

        In my opinion he is a psychopath. Detached and entitled but had the ability to turn on the charm when it served him. Remember, he had the victim convinced that her drunkenness was going to get him kicked off the team and she believed him and was ready to come to his defense. Her body had visible bruises and she believed his story. His own attorney slipped and revealed that he COULDNT put Brandon on the stand because he would have destroyed his own case.
        There’s pure evil inside him. I don’t think it’s a result of mom and dad not living under the same roof. It’s years of special treatment, ignoring certain behaviors and denying it all. His mom is still trying to play the “misunderstood victim” card. I would have so much more empathy for this woman if she would do what his friends are doing; Show some anger and disgust. If she stands before the judge and asks for a light sentence because he’s really a good kid I’m going to lose it.


      • Barbara Gordon says:

        I have two teenagers, a son and a daughter. I completely understand the first instincts are to circle the proverbial wagons and believe what your children are saying. Shawna’s earlier posts on her facebook page imply that her son lied to her telling her he had nothing to do with any of it. However, once the truth in form of the video came out, even as I understand the support for one’s child, it’s the doubling down on the persecution complex and showing so little empathy for the victim.

        Brandon instigated and lead this crime, just as people who participate in murder for hire, just because they didn’t pull the trigger doesn’t mean they aren’t responsible. None of this would have happened if he had protected his *girlfriend*. She was his girlfriend. She trusted him and he betrayed her.

        As you mention in your other comment, he then lies to her and allows her to apologize to him and then instigates intercourse. How pathological is that?

        I agree, there is a level of entitlement that is breathtaking in the aftermath of this trial.


      • John Doe says:

        I’m sorry but having gone to school with these guys, I felt the need to respond. To say they were “fooled” is a most generous presumption by any stretch.

        You learn a lot by going to school with someone, playing on multiple sports teams with them, and even sleeping over at a team camp. What becomes obvious is not any sense of “charm,” but rather the type of respect (or lack of) shown to Coaches, disregard of teammates with “I” mentality, and bullying of younger and smaller players. And this is how he treated his TEAMMATES, don’t get me started on how he played dirty against people of other schools, which I posted about earlier, while these were the same people laughing and joking with him about this in the school courtyard. This is all ON FIELD and then you throw in the Off-Field shenigans during season (lacking the discipline to at least try and stay clean in-season), what can I say, dung has a way of attracting flies.

        Brandon was clearly the ring leader of this circle, but make no mistake Joey and Especially Miles are exactly the same caliber of people. Age should not overplayed or something to hide behind. I could see it, in my teens at the time. They could see it. We each chose our paths and we are where are today. And whoever tweeted #TeamMilesandJoey must have heard about the tryout for #TheGridIronGang and can join Vandenburg. What a joke!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Must apologize for not responding earlier. You comments are very much appreciated. Brandon’s mask slipped for all time, while Miles never really had one. Also, his responses at trial bordered the ridiculous; and his demeanor was bizarre. Miles seems to have peaked, early. About the only thing I can offer about Joey is this: his parents hired excellent counsel.


    • compassion says:

      Thank you for some compassionate insight, Moms Hugs. I knew the family before the twins were born and thought well of Shawna. Rod had some pretty big issues which I’m sure contributed to the collapse of the marriage. I’m sure they both have regrets, like most parents do . It is uncalled for to be digging up dirt on the parents and placing blame on them for their son’s actions. As for Shawna’s FB posts about her son: mothers always believe the best about their kids and most portray the best. That’s a mother’s job. I can’t imagine how difficult this situation must be for Shawna to face. Her son did something horrific. Do you have a children? (question intended for bonnie russell). Try putting yourself in her shoes.


      • You wrote, “I’m sure they both have regrets.” So the question becomes, why are you sure when Shawna has given zero indication of regret as to her parenting skills? As I wrote earlier, my guess for the unbridled anger towards the parents, (mostly Shawna as people seem to have written off Rod as a loser, and stats show Moms get most of the blame, anyway) is due in no small part to Shawna’s continued “Trust in God” Minus an ounce of self-reflection FB posts. (As an aside, it’s hardly “digging up” when it’s on FB. Not much in the way of digging, at all.)

        But people have more than noticed Shawna’s behavior is the mirror reflection of the Catholic Church during the decades old pedophile scandal. As you may remember, the Catholic Church simply refused for decades, to address their issue. The same is true of Shawna. Although Shawn did take the time to write a list of 10 things she loved about Brandon; missing from her list was that Brandon had picked up a second assault charge in California after his parents posted his bail. So it turns out that much like the Catholic Church, Shawna has been absolutely willing to mislead. And no, Brandon’s second arrest wasn’t enough for Shawna to look within. Also, you write that “mothers always believe the best about their kids and most portray the best. That’s a mother’s job.”

        What’s missing from this is, reality. Of course a parent’s job to be encouraging. But more importantly it’s to to keep it real, while hoping for the best and shielding kids from harm. Shawna’s FB postings are all “Praise the Lord” and keeping it unreal, with her Top Ten List and pointing her finger not at Brandon, but those she claims have “ulterior motives.” So Shawna is teaching her twins how to avoid reality and be duplicitous at the same time. This is good parenting? I find that she’s a teacher kinda creepy. I find your comments resemble a Shawna 2.0. I choose to spend no more time on those dedicated to that kind of willful denial. The case is rife with America’s culture of complete disdain for women, up to misogyny. That you offered not one word of comfort for the victim of multiple sex attacks and are a Doula, frankly makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.


      • pillows says:



  21. I noticed you made this claim after taking your twitter account private. Which doesn’t bode well for your credibility…while not supplying any proof. Please know my column was talking about your support Prior to the trial. No one thinks any of you supported him afterward. No one. Well, unless they have reading comprehension issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Any chance you can tone done the hyperbole? If you have any written proof or pics otherwise, by all means, supply it and I will modify the column. If not, then one might wonder, why not? I mean you do spend a lot of time adding asides to your very frequent, pictures.


    • Ross says:

      It’s almost as if you read none of my twitter feed. There are numerous tweets pronouncing Vandenburg’s guilt. The case is the same with everyone else that you mentioned. Every single one of us has tweeted about his guilt and our lack of support for him. Us remembering that we were all friends with him is not us supporting him after the verdict. I’m sorry that you cannot tell the difference.


      • Let me tell you something: your whole group comes off as spoiled, entitlement minded jocks, which is not flattering at best. Really you all live in this bubble where sports is number one, when really, quite a few people think your sports culture is toxic, mean spirited and believes America spends too much money (tax payer, college fees et al) and energy catering to it.
        Your buddy Miles is quite a piece of shit too: gang bang her? He has quite a lot of contempt for women, I’ve noticed. How many women has he crossed the line with?
        Let’s hope this knocks some compassion and empathy into your little bubble of privilege.


  23. Yes, actually. Whether you are aware of it or not.
    Related; Your statements and your pictures don’t match.
    All the best.


    • Ross says:

      I refuse to pander to your ignorance. The first paragraph of this blog screams a lack of truth. Vandenburg’s friends were resolutely behind him? I think not. None of us support what he did and all of us know he is guilty and deserving of punishment; however that does not disallow us from recognizing that we were friends with him at one point and it is still hard for us to grasp how he was capable of doing that. The verdict made it real and we were and still are taking it all in. For you to say that we were resolutely behind him is completely false and poorly researched. But nice try.


  24. Ross says:

    Your blog is a disgrace to fact checking and relevance. Your blog screams irrelevance and you are drawing assumptions from twitter In which your evidence is horribly out of context. I’m glad you wish us success in our lives because you clearly haven’t had any in yours. Your unsuccessful writing career in the path of a journalist has clearly failed and has led you to a life of slanderous blogging. Your interviews with twitter have not paid off and you have written nothing true about the EX friends of Brandon Vandenburg. Maybe one day you will realize that your lack of fact checking and quickness to draw terribly untrue conclusions is the reason that you failed in journalism and had to resort to shitty blogging.


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