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Penn State's Franklin sheds no light on Vanderbilt case

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By Stephen Pianovich
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 6:24 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE — James Franklin refused Thursday to discuss the latest development in an aggravated rape case against one of his former Vanderbilt players.

Franklin addressed the media for the first time since being cited Tuesday in a court filing by a defense attorney in the case.

“I addressed this matter Tuesday and during my initial press conference on January 11,” Franklin said. “I cooperated fully with the authorities.

This matter was thoroughly investigated by authorities and also by Vanderbilt's internal council and external council. This is a legal matter, though, and that's about all I can say. I want to be as open and transparent as I possibly can and have been all along, but with this being a legal matter, that's all I can say.”

According to the documents, Franklin contacted the alleged victim, a 21-year-old woman, four days after the June incident, the Tennessean reported Tuesday.

Franklin was also quoted in the court filing as telling the girl “to get 15 pretty girls together and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules,” though there was no time context given to when that may have been said.

Franklin, hired by Penn State in January, released a statement Tuesday saying “the allegations that I did something wrong are simply not true.”

Franklin, 42, was the head coach at Vanderbilt when four players were kicked off the team last summer, including Brandon Vandenburg, whose lawyers mentioned Franklin in Tuesday's documents. Franklin and Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner addressed the vetting process about the rape case when Franklin was chosen as Bill O'Brien's replacement, both saying it was done. And Franklin reinforced his sensitivity about the topic Thursday.

“I am very sensitive to the situation that I went through and we went through at the former institution,” Franklin said. “(I'm) very, very sensitive to what happened here, and I am very, very sensitive to it for toward society in general. As a father of two daughters, I take this stuff real serious, like everyone else does.”

Franklin talked with his team.

“I covered (the Vanderbilt case) with them,” Franklin said. “… I shared with them what I could, just like today I am sharing with you what I can.”

Stephen Pianovich is a freelance writer.

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