Yesterday, news broke that former Vanderbilt football head coach James Franklin contacted the victim of an alleged rape that involved his players days after the incident took place. Today, Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman cleared the air, suggesting that Franklin did nothing wrong and that his involvement "wasn't really that relevant to us."
Franklin had previously been implicated in a cover-up by Buzzfeed and fiercely denied those allegations. While Brandon Vandenburg's attorneys revealed that the coach had a previous relationship with the alleged victim before the incident took place, they did not insinuate that Franklin had taken part in any kind of conspiracy before the police investigation began. Today, Thurman suggested that Franklin's actions did not hinder the investigation in any way and should not be considered a validation for Vandenburg's defense.
"Obviously, it wasn't for any purpose of covering up or anything like that. It was showing support, which was a nice thing to do. That's the only contact I know about."
Franklin denied any wrongdoing in a statement released on Tuesday night.
“The allegations that I did something wrong are simply not true. I have cooperated fully with the authorities in this matter but, out of respect for the legal process, I am not able to comment any further.”
The comments levied by both Thurman and Franklin suggest that the former coach's contact with the alleged victim was to offer support in a trying time. It's unclear whether or not Vanderbilt considers that contact inappropriate in the midst of an ongoing investigation. The university has yet to issue an official statement on the latest developments of this ongoing issue.