Vanderbilt sex case videos leaked – everyone outraged except ABC’s 20/20

Nashville’s Channel Five (CBS) aired a news clip, featuring leaked videos starring multiple, Vanderbilt football players committing a crime in Gillette Hall.  Two of  players  now answer as “Convicted felons.”  Two more will answer as “Defendants.”  Which is the crux of the matter.

movie-filmstart ABC’s 20/20 feature titled “The Party’s Over” aired on Friday, following Tuesday’s initial verdict. The furor happened almost immediately, but had to wait for Monday to really ramp up, news-wise.

CBS’s feature covered the following:

1.  Judge Monte Watkins is concerned just two verdicts have been returned in case with multiple defendants; and the case isn’t over.  Also, in the area of “Guilty dogs bark first” –

2.  The police said they didn’t leak it.

3.  The DA said they didn’t leak it; and

4.  Defense attorneys all say they didn’t leak it.

So unless there’s a source no one knows about, someone is lying.

Meanwhile, media outlets have been trying for months to get the somewhat sealed footage.  Naturally, a lawsuit is Sealed records - paper filesinvolved.

However, as attorney outrage is part of normal media posturing, that didn’t interest me too much.

What interested me was CBS’s coverage of the leak didn’t once mention the reaction of the only person I would be interested in weighing-in.

That would be the victim.

CBS didn’t mention her at all.

It might be the victim was contacted, but had long given up on media altogether seeing as on Friday, ABC accidentally blew her identity during the initial airing of Friday piece.  (The error was brought to their attention by an outraged viewer and cleaned up by the time it hit the west coast.)

Still, by not mentioning the victim while reporting various individuals “outraged” by the leak, left me with a deja vu feeling.  Mirroring the football players, once media got what it wanted, media was pretty much done with the victim for now.

Why sealed documents are a good idea

It should be noted Shawna Vandenburg was originally very happy the lawsuit was going to the The Tennessee Supreme Court.  However, she might have changed her mind after  seeing her son’s depraved behavior in full and laughing view, on 20/20.

For me the Vanderbilt case is an example of Judge Watkins trying to run as fair a courtroom as possible.  Sealed records until all defendants have been tried isn’t just a good idea. It’s how it’s supposed to work.

Hollywood-long-filmstripHowever, it’s also important for the public to know not all sealed records are done for the benefit of the victim or justice for impending defendants.

Consider the murder of four McStay family members in San Diego and Judge Michael Smith  who  sealed records of the sheriff’s investigation.  Likely to protect an uber-sloppy, thoroughly botched investigation. So judges don’t always act in the interest of “justice.”  There’s a lot of CYA going on.  The family wants the records released, and the DA is opposed.

When the local NBC affiliate aired the McStay feature, they used the statement made by the family member as the title, “I knew they screwed up.”



About bonnie russell

It's not about’s always about people.
This entry was posted in Law, Rape, Vanderbilt University Sex crimes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Vanderbilt sex case videos leaked – everyone outraged except ABC’s 20/20

  1. Nope. Once everything starts, everything is on lock-down and should be routed through the school’s attorneys….until the judge ordered same.


  2. Pingback: Latest leaked video drama from Vandenburg attorney Albert Perez | Media and the courts

  3. Isn’t it likely the school gave a copy of the tapes to 20/20?


  4. sharon says:

    How on earth can the other two defendants receive a fair trial now?


  5. Update: Have heard media contacted the victim, and a friend of the victim reported she “declined to speak. Which only makes media not mentioning her at all, that much worse.


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