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Report: Prosecutor Has No Issue With Franklin's Contact With Alleged Rape Victim

by on April 30, 2014 11:45 PM

Nashville Deputy District Attorney, Tom Thurman is defending Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin in the wake of a controversial new court filing.

Thurman is prosecuting four former Vanderbilt football players charged with raping a female student last summer.

In an interview with Philly.com, Thurman confirms that Penn State head coach James Franklin did make contact with the alleged victim. He goes on to say, "I think he and his wife called and said they were praying for her and thinking about her. It was probably a pretty nice thing to do and it gets thrown up like this."

"Obviously, it wasn't for any purpose of covering up or anything like that," Thurman said. "It was showing support, which was a nice thing to do. That's the only contact I know about. I think she worked at the [Vanderbilt] football office part-time. I think she was on the dance team. It wasn't really that relevant to us."

Franklin's name resurfaced on Tuesday following a defense court filing that alleged that Franklin had contacted the victim.

Penn State issued a brief statement from Franklin Tuesday night denying any wrongdoing.

"The allegations that I did something wrong are simply not true," Franklin said in a statement released by Penn State. "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 four former Vanderbilt football players are charged raping a female Vanderbilt student last August. A fifth student pleaded guilty to trying to cover up the incident and all five were dismissed from the football program by Franklin.

Thurman has cleared Franklin of any unethical behavior before, most recently this past November when he publicly noted that Franklin had done nothing improper. “There’s been allegations about Coach Franklin,” Thurman said at the time. ”We just wanted to state clearly that there’s no evidence whatsoever where Coach Franklin was involved in any way in the cover-up or has done anything inappropriate. He’s cooperated with us.”

Franklin will address the media on Thursday afternoon at the Pegula Ice Arena during the first stop of his two-week coaches caravan tour.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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