Former Texas football player Kendall Sanders who is charged with sexual assault and improper photography makes his way back into the 167th district court on Tuesday, Morning, Oct. 13 2015(RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Football

Defense tells its side of story in Kendall Sanders trial

Alleged victim said to be embarrassed about photo

Posted October 13th, 2015

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Story highlights
  • In first time sharing his client's version of the events, Brian Roark says alleged victim of Kendall Sanders was uncomfortable by a photo taken by Sanders
  • Jane Doe twice had to ask for a break after crying uncontrollably
  • Texas basketball player Isaiah Taylor bought a drink for the alleged victim the night of the incident

The attorney defending Kendall Sanders in the former Texas football player’s sexual assault trial painted his client’s accuser as an unaccepted sorority member whose father would have been embarrassed had it become public that his daughter had engaged in three-way intercourse with two members of the football team.

On Tuesday, Sanders’ attorney, Brian Roark, shared publicly for the first time his client’s version of what transpired after a night of drinking by several underage UT students on Sixth Street in June 2014.

Roark theorized that the woman reconsidered her role in the encounter after she became suspicious that Sanders had taken a photo of her and that he would share it with others.

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“That photo was dangerous,” Roark said.

Roark argued that the woman falsely accused his client of rape so as not to embarrass her father or to disappoint her sorority, which had made her feel like a “unicorn” as the only black member.

Twice the woman became hysterical and asked for a break Tuesday. Judge David Wahlberg advised jurors to be prepared to work long hours on Wednesday. The woman will continue giving testimony to open the day.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Andrea Austin referenced Sanders’ status as a football player at the time and argued that the “case is about entitlement” and as such Sanders felt permitted to engage in unwanted oral, vaginal and anal intercourse with the woman.

“I felt alone and worthless,” Sanders’ accuser said. “He treated me like I was worthless.”

The incident happened on a weekend when the woman returned to campus to visit her boyfriend. The couple had been together on Friday, June 21, before she left with friends to celebrate a birthday downtown.

Only 18 at the time, she said she entered bars with a fake ID and received a drink at one establishment from Isaiah Taylor, a point guard on the basketball team who also was underage. At that same establishment, she ran into Sanders and Montrel Meander. Later in the evening she, Taylor and a few others accepted a ride from Meander to the San Jacinto Residence Hall; Sanders was not with them.

“I was very intoxicated,” the woman said, contradicting a statement she gave to police at the time that she was not inebriated.

She said she and Meander had engaged in consensual sex in Meander’s dorm room for three to five minutes when there was a knock at the door and Sanders entered and began undressing.

What happened next is what the jury must decide — and could determine whether Sanders goes to prison for up to 20 years. The prosecution says the woman made it clear she was not interested in Sanders. The defense says she was an active participant who never fought back against the accused or screamed for help.

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