Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Prosecutor: Penn State's Franklin did nothing 'inappropriate' in rape case

PITTSBURGH - Penn State football coach James Franklin did nothing "inappropriate" in contacting the woman who claims four of Franklin's former players at Vanderbilt University raped her last year, a Tennessee prosecutor said yesterday.

"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," Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a telephone interview.

Any contact Franklin had with the woman wasn't significant to the case, Thurman added.

Yesterday, Franklin said he had discussed the rape case with the players at Penn State.

"I was open and honest with my team as I possibly can be," Franklin said yesterday during a media conference inside the Pegula Ice Arena in State College to kick off the Penn State Coaches Caravan.

"We had a team meeting on Wednesday to go over a lot of these things that we've been talking about and make sure that we finish strong academically and I covered that [the Vanderbilt rape case] with them.

"We put a power point presentation up every single day, every time that we have a team meeting and it shows examples of things that are going on in this country and, um, for them to hopefully learn from.

"And that was one of them. I shared with them what I could just like I'm sharing with you guys today what I can.''

According to Pennlive.com, Franklin was asked yesterday if he felt he had to be open about the rape case in light of what Penn State has been through with the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

"Yes. But it's difficult,'' Franklin said. "I addressed this matter during my initial press conference on Jan. 11. [I] cooperated fully with the authorities. This matter was thoroughly investigated by the authorities and also Vanderbilt's internal council . . . This is a legal matter, though.

"And that's really about all I can say. So I want to be as open and transparent as I possibly can and have been all along. But, this being a legal matter, that's about all I can say.''

Franklin denied wrongdoing earlier this week when attorneys for a former Vanderbilt player charged with raping the woman along with three former teammates accused prosecutors of mishandling evidence in the case.

Thurman told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the filings by defense attorneys for Brandon Vandenburg were "an obvious tactical ploy by Mr. Vandenburg's attorneys to intimidate the victim and malign veteran prosecutors." The filings could also taint the jury pool and prevent a fair trial of the charges, Thurman said.

Vandenburg's attorneys contend prosecutors have concealed evidence from them, including text messages, phone records and call logs from Franklin.

The defense filings said the alleged victim told detectives that Franklin contacted the woman days after the alleged June assault, telling her "they cared about her" because she assisted with recruiting.

The defense attorneys also claim that Franklin had previously "called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get 15 pretty girls together and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules."

"The allegations I did something wrong are simply not true," Franklin said in a statement Tuesday, when the contents of the documents were first reported.

Associated Press
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