Victim testifies in case against former UT football player

Kendall Sanders arriving at court
Kendall Sanders arriving at court

AUSTIN (KXAN) — She asked for breaks to compose herself two different times and was hyperventilating at one point, but the alleged victim of sexual assault tearfully told jurors how two former Texas Longhorn football players sexually assaulted her despite her pleas to stop.

“I felt alone. Like I was worthless,” said the woman being referred to as “Jane Doe” for the purposes of protection during the trial of former Texas wide receiver Kendall Sanders. Ex-player Montrel Meander is the second suspect still awaiting his own trial.

On the stand, Jane Doe said she and some friends met with Sanders and Meander downtown while celebrating a birthday in 2014. She went home with Meander, whom she described as a friend, but not her boyfriend. In his room at the San Jacinto dorms on the University of Texas campus, Doe admitted to being heavily intoxicated, taking a shower in Meander’s room and consenting to sex with him.

But as prosecutors put it in their opening arguments, “the vibe changed” when there was a knock on the door and Sanders entered the room.

“The case is about entitlement,” said prosecutor Andrea Austin to the jury. “The defendant took what he thought was his.”

During Doe’s testimony, she said she made it clear to Sanders she was not interested in having sex with him, but he told her “You are going to like it.” Breathing heavily and crying through much of her testimony, she explained in detail that Sanders and Meander both assaulted her even though they knew she was no longer consenting. At one point, she said the two men laughed when she asked them to at least use a condom.

A pivotal moment in the case could come down to a picture Doe claims Sanders took of her during the alleged assault. She said she remembers seeing a flash in the dark room and asked if Sanders had taken the picture, but he denied. Prosecutors have entered the said photograph into evidence.

Video from the San Jacinto dorm front desk shows Doe behind the desk while the dorm attendant calls University of Texas Police to report the assault. The attendant hands the phone to Doe and she is heard crying on the call while telling the dispatcher she did not know the man who raped her. Moments later, Doe can be seen lying on the floor underneath a desk while a man, later identified as Meander, appears to look for her.

Immediately after the alleged assault occurred, Doe said she locked herself in Meander’s bathroom and took photographs of herself because she knew right away she planned on reporting what happened. While on the way down the elevator, she said Sanders followed her, asking if she was alright. Doe described it as “damage control.”

But defense attorney Brian Roark told the jury they will her two very different versions of what happened. From opening statements, it is clear he plans on attacking the rape investigation conducted by UTPD. He says there are inconsistencies in her statements which were never fully investigated. “None of her statements have ever been challenged,” said Roark.

Based on his opening statement, Roark intends to show everything between Doe and the two former players was consensual, but she changed her tune when Sanders took a picture of her during sex. The fear of humiliation on social media is what motivated the rape allegations according to Roark.

Texas head football coach Charlie Strong kicked both players off the team shortly after their arrest last year.

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