tv 2020 ABC June 2, 2017 10:01pm-11:00pm PDT
i felt like i was that drunk girl at the party. >> when i walk in and i see my daughter in the corner, balled up in the fetal position with mascara running. >> reporter: what did she tell you? >> tonight, on "20/20" -- the new girl in town. the high school football hero. >> this is my senior banner right here. >> and the party to end all parties. >> i was banging on the door and i was like, what's going on? like, why is the door locked? >> but what happened behind that closed bedroom door and was it consensual? did a night of drinking blur the lines? >> she was like, she was out. not saying anything. >> and what about the morning after? his bizarre admission to her parents. >> i told him get the [ bleep ] off my property. >> in a very christian way. >> tonight, we're taking you into a secret world of high school rumors and snapchat
scandals. >> it started going around the school that they had had sex. >> this cell phone video taken that night -- but does it tell two entirely different stories? does that smile change everything? >> reporter: how important is this video to your case? >> now, a football-crazed town taking sides. team savannah. >> i don't care how much she drank, it doesn't matter. nobody has the right to take something that's not theirs. >> or team cameron. >> you go from a little small town kid playing football, to a national media crisis. >> the revelations that left a small town split and speechless. >> in the courtroom, i'll never forget, there was an audible gasp. >> good evening. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. it was the kind of teenage party that's taking place around the
party. but this ended in a life-changing he said, she said. >> one that is igniting a desperately needed conversation about the blurred lines of sexual consent, and sexual assault. here's ryan smith. ♪ >> reporter: it's friday night. the lights, the band, and the entire town is out to see the toros. welcome to spanish fort, alabama. population 8,000. located just east of mobile bay. once the site of one of the last civil war battles. it will later be the site of a different kind of battle. >> very small, close community.
everyone kind of knows everyone. >> a very tight-knit community, focused on family, centered on very good schools. >> reporter: bible belt churches may dot this small, affluent community but here, football is religion. >> in spanish fort, football is no longer a sport. it's a lifestyle. you live, eat, sleep, breathe football. >> reporter: no wonder its high school players are celebrated as heroes, says journalist cassie fambro. >> people love to see them and recognize them in their community. i would say they're local celebrities. >> reporter: and starring in his own highlight reel, running back cameron harrison. a senior, 5'7", 180 pounds, wearing number 4. >> he's small, but he's big. he's hard to bring down. that's one of his advantages. he's tough. >> reporter: among those cheering in the crowd, the new girl in class, 16-year-old savannah. >> i am funny, independent,
goofy, very goofy, have a lot of love in my heart. >> reporter: among the things she loves, what you'd expect. makeup, social media and selfies. lots and lots of selfies. but for the onetime choir girl singing in church with her dad, adolescence brought some big changes. moving from the only private school she ever knew to unfamiliar terrain, public high school. >> i cried. i said i don't want to move, but i didn't have a choice. >> reporter: really? >> i had been at a school from second grade to ninth grade. i loved where i was. i was from the country, there it's so laid-back and small. >> reporter: how was the adjustment for savannah to high school? >> it was an eye-opener for her. >> i think it was a huge culture shock. >> i remember one time she, she called me. she was like, i don't think i can do this. >> reporter: emily and joe, savannah's parents, were high school sweethearts. married by age 20.
he, a marine at camp lejeune. she, a college student studying business. what were your hopes back then? >> have a family and have a story. >> reporter: but their family's story, the kind every parent of a teenage girl fears, begins on an unseasonably warm october night in 2015. it's joe and emily's 18th wedding anniversary. they're enjoying a rare night away from their four kids, celebrating with a romantic weekend in new york city. but meanwhile, back in alabama, another celebration, an 18th birthday party for one of the spanish fort seniors. how did this party come about? >> everyone was texting about it. >> reporter: haley and aly, popular high school seniors, say word spreads like wildfire. even to those outside their usual clique. >> this was a little bit bigger, and it was lots of different kind of people all mingling together. >> it was not a typical weekend party. it was probably like one of the biggest parties i've ever been to in spanish fort. >> reporter: savannah too hears about the party and begs her parents, long distance, for permission.
>> i had the a.c.t.s saturday morning and the party was saturday night. >> reporter: just, like, blow off some steam. >> blow off some steam. >> reporter: you were on the phone with her and what did she say? >> she said mom, may i go to a birthday party tonight? i said why don't you just stay home, just listen to your inner voice. i just, i want, for some reason i wanted her to stay home. >> reporter: but mom's intuition on this fateful night gave way to a daughter's desperate desire to fit in. >> me being pushy, finally she was like, okay. >> reporter: a tale of two photos illustrate in real time, different nights for mother and daughter. a night out for the parents, while savannah is seen on snapchat getting glammed up. with her, a friend. and guess who she knows -- cameron harrison, that high school football star. they pregame at his house. the two girls taking this pic in his room. did you know cameron harrison at all? >> i knew of him. we had math together but i had
never hung out with him or anything. >> reporter: what did you hear about him? >> he was just a short little cracker, like just a fireball, just kind of crazy. >> reporter: and speaking of fireball, the booze, brought by the kids, flowing freely later that night at this ordinary two-story, four-bedroom mustard-colored house overlooking the timber creek golf course. now, packed like a nightclub. so how many people were at the party? >> probably 40 at one point. >> reporter: make that 41. the birthday boy's 58-year-old grandmother was home, but watching tv upstairs in her bedroom. >> we walked in and hyped would be the word. there was like rap music playing, hair slinging, and arms flailing. you were just kind of like, wow. >> it was hectic. people running around, dancing, beer pong, playing video games on the tv. >> reporter: and the drinks were flowing?
>> the drinks were flowing. >> reporter: hayden, a senior football player, recalls playing beer pong with savannah and his teammate, cameron. >> she was staring him down, giving him that look. i told him i was like, "all right, she obviously wants it." he was like, "i know, i can tell." >> reporter: you had some interest in this guy. i saw you roll your eyes. why? >> i always said to my friends i would never with him, he's a nice guy but no. >> reporter: 40 underage teenagers partying, drinking, saying turn down, for what. what were you drinking? >> smirnoff. i had about two of those before i got there and then i had three or four beers. and then four double shots of fireball. it was under an hour that i had drank this much. >> reporter: others quickly took notice. >> i first saw her on the couch, one of her friends was like,
pouring a little alcohol in her mouth. >> reporter: she didn't look like she was completely wasted? >> no. she was conscious, walking around, having a good time, not stumbling. i couldn't say she might have been able to walk in a straight line, but i don't think most of the people there could've at that point. >> reporter: these photos posted on snapchat may allow us to peer into savannah's saturday night, but what they don't show, she says, are the effects of all that alcohol. she says she remembers feeling dizzy but that's about all. what's the last thing you remember? >> the last thing that i remember is standing in the kitchen with everybody, singing "happy birthday." >> reporter: this is cell phone video of that moment obtained by "20/20." >> it's like i wasn't even in my body. like, it's like my head was
telling me, like, something's not right, but i just, i could feel myself kind of fading out, like you know, from having control of myself. but that's the last thing i remember was staying in there with everybody. >> reporter: savannah may not remember but her friends do. >> at one point, savannah had accidentally knocked over a glass. she looked like something was wrong. >> reporter: coming up next, cell phone video captures savannah being carried. what happens when she's behind closed doors and not alone. >> i was banging on the door and i was like, what's going on? like, why is the door locked? >> reporter: stay with us. shoul. (coughs) so sorry. oh no... it's just that your friend daryl here is supposed to be live streaming the wedding and he's not getting any service. i missed like, the whole thing. what? and i just got an unlimited plan. it's the right plan, wrong network. you see, verizon has the largest, most reliable 4g lte network in america. it's built to work better in cities. tell you what, just use mine. thanks. no problem. all right, let's go live. say hi to everybody who wasn't invited! (vo) when you really, really want the best, switch to verizon unlimited and get our best smartphones for just $15 a month.
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"20/20" continues. >> reporter: if it's october, it means the spanish fort toros are in familiar territory, their opponent's end zone. closing in on another alabama state championship. but 16-year-old savannah is out of her league, evident to those at the party that she may have had a few too many. >> she's kind of just like, like, just like, going crazy walking around. >> reporter: watching from across the room, savannah's close friend, who asked that we call her jessica. she's drunk. right? >> mm-hmm.
>> reporter: what are you seeing? >> all of a sudden i see someone carrying her up the stairs. it was probably four people that were carrying her up the stairs, like she was a doll basically, like they just like each had a limb. and i was like, what the heck, when did this happen? i just like saw her on the couch. >> reporter: but just like booze, there's something else that's ubiquitous at your typical teenage rager, cell phones. this is an image of savannah being carried upstairs. it will later play a big part in trying to determine what occurred that night. taylor is one of those teens who helped carry savannah. >> we were all just laughing, you know, making a joke out of it, because it was funny. everyone had been drinking, and we're carrying savannah up, and savannah's pretty tall, and we're all kind of short, so we were kind of struggling. >> reporter: she says they did it so savannah could lie down and sleep it off. do you remember being carried upstairs? >> it's like i could hear things my eyes were shut, but i could just hear everything. i just didn't feel with it at all. >> reporter: at that point, the popular seniors, newly 18, decide to leave, wanting to take the party across the bay to a
club in nearby mobile. >> we were like, cameron, you coming? he was like, no, i can't get in i'm just going to stay here. >> reporter: weary of trouble, because remember, cameron harrison is a standout senior whose football team is undefeated and entering the playoffs. also staying behind? savannah. and depending on who you talk to, you get conflicting reports on her state of mind. >> whenever we were about to leave is whenever i saw her being carried, and she was laughing. >> reporter: so you saw her being carried up the stairs? >> yeah, she was like, no, i want to go back downstairs. >> reporter: once upstairs, savannah gets sick in the bathroom. that grandma makes a brief appearance, handing her a towel. friend "jessica" says when she went upstairs, savannah was barely coherent. >> she was just laid on the bed with like her eyes closed. and she was just like, uh-huh, i couldn't like really make out what she was saying. >> reporter: tell me, when she's saying that to you, is she unconscious at that point? >> she wasn't fully conscious
but she wasn't fully unconscious at that point. she was probably like in-between there. she's kind of really like a zombie. >> reporter: slurring at all? >> yeah, definitely slurring. but it was after that is when i noticed like, she was like, she was out. she wasn't saying anything. >> reporter: jessica says she left savannah in that upstairs bedroom to nap but when she returned to check on her about 15 minutes later, the door was locked. >> i was banging on the door and i was like, what's going on? like, why is the door locked? and i couldn't hear anything in there. and the light was off. and i remember leaving and the light was on. >> reporter: she doesn't hear anything, but cameron's teammate, hayden, also at the door, says he hears savannah making sounds from inside the bedroom. >> i heard her moaning. like, i could hear sex noises. >> reporter: eventually the door opens, and jessica is shocked by what she sees. >> so cameron cracks the door open, and he's completely naked. and i was like, oh, my gosh. what just, what just happened? half her body's on the bed with
her arms back and then half her body's like draped off the bed. >> reporter: did she have any clothes on? >> she had no clothes on. she was completely naked. i started yelling at cameron, i was like, what are you doing? like she's obviously not okay right now. and he was like, she wanted me to. >> reporter: did it seem like she was completely out of it? >> yes, completely out of it. she couldn't even move. >> reporter: couldn't move, but jessica says savannah did speak. and what she said would be crucial to the case. >> she said, just leave me here. i was mad because she said that, so that's when i left. >> reporter: when jessica goes back upstairs, another 10 or 15 minutes later, she sees savannah disheveled. no bra and her clothes backwards and inside out. >> she was slumped over the toilet throwing up. and she, oh gosh, she threw up so much. like, it was at least 20 times that night. she just kept throwing up everywhere. >> reporter: and she says cameron, nowhere in sight. turns out he's back downstairs
at the party, taking smiling snaps. no hint of potential wrongdoing. do you remember cameron harrison ever being in that room with you? >> no. >> reporter: it's approaching midnight, and on the ride home, friend taylor says that's when savannah whispered a secret to her. >> i asked her, are you okay? and she had told me, i think i had sex with cameron. >> reporter: with a sickly savannah in the backseat, it is jessica taking responsibility for her friend, racing home before curfew. were you thinking, man, this girl might be in serious trouble? she might need to go to the hospital right now. >> oh, yeah. i wanted to take her there, but she would just start screaming, she's like, no. she was still drunk at that point but she would try her best to be like, mm-mm, no, you can't do that. >> reporter: with her parents asleep, jessica sneaks the two of them in through the side door. savannah still vomiting. >> she was still shaking, she
was like white, white. i put so many blankets on her and she was still, she kept on saying like i'm so cold, like, it sounded like she was just like in like a freezer. >> reporter: for two hours "jessica" stood watch over her intoxicated friend. when we come back, some monday morning quarterbacking when the weekend's raucous house party hits homeroom. >> it started going around the school that they had had sex. a bunch of different stories. >> reporter: and the standout football star stands face to face with a former marine. did it take everything in you to not want to lash out at him? >> reporter: the confrontation on the front porch. next. ♪ the opioid my doctor prescribed for my chronic back pain backed me up-big time. before movantik, i tried to treat it myself. spent time, money. no go. but i didn't back down. i talked to my doctor. she said: one, movantik was specifically designed for opioid-induced constipation-oic- and can help you go more often. number two? with my savings card, i can get movantik for about the same price
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>> reporter: looking in the mirror never used to bother 16-year-old savannah. she's young, pretty, confident. but the reflection she saw the morning of october 25th, 2015, was downright horrifying. >> my face was sunken in. i had bruise hickeys all down my neck. i just started crying, because i just felt so disgusted with myself. >> reporter: disgusted because savannah's saturday night was a dangerous one. full of beer, liquor, and fireball shots. >> i felt like i was that drunk
girl at the party, and i knew everyone was going to, like, just, you know, talk about it. >> reporter: but she is about to learn from her friend, it wasn't just alcohol. >> she said, you know, you and cameron had sex, but you were really messed up. and i said, you know, i don't remember that. >> reporter: savannah makes her friend promise not to mention it again, just pretend like it never happened. so at that point you were thinking i want this to go away? >> yes. i was still kind of new, and he was who he was, so i knew that it'd be pointless to try and say something. >> reporter: at that point, how did you define what he did? >> i just felt taken advantage of. >> reporter: did you feel like it was rape? >> honestly, at the time, no, i did not. >> reporter: savannah goes to school monday morning hoping her weekend secret is safe. but it's already too late. rumors are swirling all over spanish fort high. >> it started going around the
school that savannah was raped. so the word is out. people were talking about it. >> reporter: savannah tries to keep her head down, until she bumps into the man of that infamous hour, cameron harrison. >> he kind of dodged me, like wouldn't look at me, just kind of kept going his way. >> reporter: did you want to speak to him? >> not really, no. i just felt like it was too, honestly, like, awkward and uncomfortable. >> reporter: during design class, savannah gets with taylor and a couple of other friends to discuss what happened between her and cameron. >> she kept saying, he just took advantage of the situation. we had both been drinking. >> reporter: at that time, how would you have defined rape? >> brutal, like holding, tied down, gun to your head, tight, just very violent. that's what i thought it was. >> reporter: the girls tell savannah she's wrong. and soon they start googling the definition of rape, right there in class. unbeknownst to them, their teacher overhears them and savannah is sent to the guidance
counselor. >> they were like, you know, we've heard about this party saturday night. you want to talk about it? and i kind of just broke down. said i felt like i had been, you know, taken advantage of. >> reporter: they summon her mother emily to the school. >> i walk in and i seen my daughter in the corner, balled up in the fetal position with mascara running. >> reporter: what did she tell you? >> that she had been raped, or sexually assaulted. and i got mad. that was my first reaction, i was just angry. >> reporter: emily and her husband joe say they went through a range of emotions. first, disappointment in their daughter. but then outrage. >> somebody can say, "she shouldn't have got so drunk." yeah, i get that. no, she shouldn't have, okay? i don't care what she was
wearing. i don't care how much she drank. i don't care if she was doing drugs. it doesn't matter. nobody has a right to take something that's not theirs. >> that's the bottom line. >> to us, it was a black and white. >> reporter: but for savannah, it's a little more grey, she's waffling between damning and defending cameron. even texting a friend, "i feel so awful, taylor. cameron and everyone is going to hate me. i never wanted it to get to this point." it's all getting back to cameron, whose friends, hearing the vicious rumors, tell him he needs to set the record straight. >> if not what happened that's not what needs to be said. >> reporter: for his next play, cameron, on the advice of a teacher, decides to go on offense. >> somehow he found out that savannah's parents thought they had sex and accused him of rape. and so he, being the gentleman that he was, wanted to apologize, make it right. >> reporter: he may want to make it right, but he's about to make it worse. believe it or not, cameron goes to visit savannah's father, the
former marine. to tell him the sex he had with his daughter was consensual. that's the guy, he's outside, he's walking up right now. joe, what did you say? >> my immediate reaction when he pulled up was violence. i am fixing to clear this porch off of this kid. i didn't say a word. i let him speak. >> he said, i know y'all are hurting, savannah's hurting, but i'm hurting too. >> his body language was bizarre. >> 'cause he was so calm. so ice cold. joe and i were both shaking. >> reporter: and he made a huge admission to you. >> he only did our daughter for five minutes. five minutes. only five minutes. >> reporter: he said those words to you? did it take everything in you to not want to lash out at him? >> i told him to get the [ bleep ] off my property. >> in a very christian-like way. >> reporter: that very day, emily and joe call the
authorities. and veteran detective jason vannoy is assigned. he wastes no time. >> just because with kids, teenagers, allegiances can change, stories can change, i kind of want to talk to everybody i can as quick as i can. >> reporter: after speaking to savannah and her mother, he begins to interview students, about a dozen in all. they tell a consistent story about savannah becoming what they called sloppy drunk. then detective vannoy inevitably discovers this, cell phone video taken at the party. >> the video showed the young people carrying the victim across the house and to the stairway. >> reporter: what did you think when you saw that video? >> i took a long, hard look at it. several times. and was mainly focusing on the condition of the victim. her body was limp. at one point she had her arm draped over her face and it, she was just like a wet rag. >> reporter: just a few precious seconds, but for a seasoned
investigator, oh, so revealing. >> it's realtime footage taken at the party, showing the condition of the victim. >> reporter: how important is this video to your case? >> in my mind, this video took this case way beyond probable cause to make an arrest. >> reporter: a week after the party, cameron harrison is charged with first degree rape, sparking a media frenzy. >> a charge of rape, a shocked and divided history. >> reporter: when his friends see him in court the next day, now clad in a new uniform, they are beside themselves. >> it was definitely a slap of reality. >> my best friend walking down a hallway with a bunch of criminals in an orange jumpsuit and shackles on, and cameras all in his face. >> that is so hard to see your friend like that. >> you go from a little small town kid playing football to a national media crisis. >> cameron, what really happened at that party? >> reporter: cameron pleads not
guilty. he's released on bond, but placed on house arrest. suspended from the football team and forced to take his classes online. the next night is the toros' first playoff game. but they will have to do it without cameron, the star running back. what was going through the team's mind? >> us in the student section and the football team did everything we could to let cameron know in spirit that he was there with us. that we wanted him there. so we put 4s everywhere. >> reporter: number 4, cameron's jersey. plastered in the stands and on social media, a public outpouring of support. and not just from teammates. "toros 4 ever" read this banner. girls wrote 4s on their wrists and even a number 4 on the quarterback's towel. >> we wanted it to be known that we supported our friend.
>> reporter: for savannah, the display instantly visible on social media. it feels like she's become the town pariah. how did all of this strike you? >> it really just bothered me. it's kind of evil. >> reporter: when we come back, bullying, from virtual to violent. >> she goes, i can't sleep. i'm scared. >> someone threw a rock at my window. >> reporter: next. cindy, you don't evenno dress.ress. come on girls, she's not coming with us. ♪
one again, ryan smith. >> this is not something i would expect from cameron harrison in any way, shape or form. >> she didn't do anything wrong and she is being punished more than he is. >> reporter: the drama between spanish fort alabama high school students, savannah, and football player, cameron harrison, divided the town. cassie fambro wrote for the local news site al.com. >> there was just such a stark divide. there was the people who believed savannah and there was the people who thought that this was a witch hunt. that cameron harrison was unfairly portrayed as a criminal rapist. >> about two dozen spanish fort high school students defending him. >> he's innocent. >> reporter: but while cameron's supporters were loud and proud, he was tight-lipped. never speaking in public or to the police.
>> no comment. >> reporter: but he did speak to this woman, private investigator, alicia mcwhorter. hired by cameron's mom to gather intel. what was his state of mind like? what was he like? >> he was in a state of hyperawareness that he w uer a microscope. and he needed to get the truth out. >> reporter: she says cameron recounts a familiar tale of booze, beer pong and all-out blowout. but new details emerge when he claims after savannah was carried up the stairs, he ended up in the bathroom with her. and that's when a familiar face enters. kennedy, that girl who came to the party with savannah. >> cameron states that kennedy grabbed his face and kissed him, and then savannah grabbed his face and kissed him, and then they moved into the bedroom. at some point kennedy gets up and leaves the room. >> kennedy denies that she, cameron, and savannah were kissing each other at the same time. >> cameron says it happened, kennedy states it didn't. we're at an impasse on that.
>> reporter: and cameron says he and savannah are still not alone in that bedroom. there are others. and she tells them to leave. >> cameron told me that the alleged victim said, "get the 'f' out" and told another person, "i'm going to 'f' him." >> reporter: granted, this investigator is being paid by cameron's family. but listen to what others said. but listen to what two others told detective vannoy. >> they heard the victim say "'f' me, cam." >> reporter: but remember, the booze was flowing and memories, hazy. did you have consensual sex with cameron harrison? >> no. if i was in the condition in i'm right now, i would not have sex with cameron. >> reporter: and what about that controversial statement cameron allegedly made to her father.
>> cameron clearly stated to me that he did not say that. >> reporter: how do you know what to believe? >> i can tell you that, that cameron's story was believable. and i do believe that the young woman consumed alcohol that may or may not have impeded her ability to remember exactly everything that happened. >> reporter: so in your mind she could have given consent but simply not remembered it? >> yes. i believe that. i do not believe she was passed out. no one saw her passed out. >> reporter: "not passed out" is key because the charge against cameron is that savannah couldn't consent because she was either physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. >> the question all comes back to, what was she capable of doing at that moment? >> reporter: savannah says she becomes the victim of cyber bullying. and not just from classmates but from their parents too. >> it's hard enough, kids my age, doing these things, but when it's an adult, that just hits a new nerve to me. >> reporter: and then one night she's awoken to a loud bang.
>> a large cement chunk of just rock, brick, about this big, shattered her window. >> the d.a. says the latest potentially dangerous attack crossed the line. >> reporter: and then savannah says one by one, many of her friends publically turned their back on her. >> i think their social life was more important to them than, you know, supporting me. >> reporter: with their daughter isolated and outcast, savannah's parents offered to move schools. >> i said, no, you're not going to run me out. >> reporter: you wanted to stay at your school. >> i wanted to stay. to prove a point. i'm going to be strong, i'm going to show them. i didn't make it through, like, first period. >> reporter: why not? >> everyone was staring at me like i was the devil, like, just giving me a look of disgust. >> reporter: savannah toughs it out for six months before the family decides to the sell their home and move out of spanish fort.
>> i deserve to feel happy again. it's not, you know, that they got to me, it's just that i deserve a fresh start. >> reporter: now it's savannah's turn to strike back, not even waiting for a trial. armed with her cell phone, she decides to go public. blogging about her reality and how society has it backwards when it comes to sexual assault. >> we teach don't get raped instead of don't rape. does anybody else not see a problem with this? >> reporter: why did you decide to start blogging? >> i wanted to have a voice. if you see a girl who's clearly been drinking and to the point of passing out, you help her. >> reporter: next, the case is headed for court. both sides brace for battle. >> we don't expect to lose this case. cameron harrison also has the right to be publically exonerated. and publically vindicated for a false allegation. >> you cannot rape an unconscious girl. it doesn't matter if you are a high school athlete star. you cannot do this.
>> reporter: but could savannah's own words come back to haunt her? >> there was a blatant text saying, you did not rape me. >> reporter: they say snapchats disappear. not this one. stay with us. ♪ the sun'll come out tomorrow... ♪ for people with heart failure, tomorrow is not a given. but entresto is a medicine that helps make more tomorrows possible. ♪ tomorrow, tomorrow... ♪ i love ya, tomorrow in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto helped more people stay alive and out of the hospital than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren. if you've had angioedema while taking an ace or arb medicine, don't take entresto. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure... ...kidney problems, or high potassium in your blood. ♪ tomorrow, tomorrow i love ya, tomorrow ♪ ask your heart doctor about entresto.
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>> reporter: savannah is trying to make a fresh start. new surroundings. new perspective. >> i love film, writing, photography, art. life itself makes me happy. >> reporter: but there is a piece of her past that threatens to undo the entire case against her alleged assailant. 18-year-old cameron harrison. he shows authorities a bombshell. a snapchat message savannah sent him two days after the party. and here's what it says. "u didn't rape me. i mean u took advantage of me but i forgive you and i know u were drunk." it's a huge break for cameron's defense. and for his buddies, it reinforces what they believed all along. >> there was a blatant text saying, you did not rape me. that should have ended it. she admitted that he didn't.
>> if she said you didn't rape her, we know that you didn't rape her. she said it. she told him that. >> reporter: this snapchat that she sends, "hey, i know you didn't rape me." >> that just goes to show that she didn't know the meaning of rape. >> reporter: savannah says the message was part of a larger conversation initiated by him. but only this snippet was saved by cameron. >> well, the selling point to snapchat, the reason that it's popular, if you don't screenshot it and save it, it's gone. >> reporter: and the breaks keep coming for cameron. remember that video of savannah being carried up the stairs? his defense attorney claims to have found more of it. this additional frame where savannah appears awake and smiling. the defense seems to say that there's another second in that where she's smiling. what's your impression of that? >> unconscious people can make all kinds of facial expressions and they can have their eyes open. my position is that she's physically helpless. and that is very much bolstered by the fact that she's having to be carried. >> reporter: two key pieces of evidence but both sides saying it proves their case.
>> her smiling doesn't necessarily mean this was not a rape, but as jurors evaluate the case and have to decide, is it proof beyond a reasonable doubt, every little factor becomes relevant. >> reporter: but that's little comfort to cameron as he awaits trial. for the past six months, these four walls have become cameron's closest companions. now, only photos providing a peek at the life he once enjoyed. >> this is my senior banner. it says, running back, cameron harrison. all my friends made this for me. >> reporter: cameron showing us this window into a life seemingly put on perma hold. >> i'm blessed to have so much support from all of my friends and family. >> reporter: trapped by a dark cloud above him, and that device
around his ankle, monitoring his movements. >> how far, cameron, are you allowed to go? >> i can go to, like, across the street over there. >> reporter: ironically, the former running back's world is now limited to the length of football field, 100 yards. his mom karon. >> we just deal with the days as they come through. our love grows stronger every day. and we're going to make it through this. >> reporter: suddenly, throngs of kids begin to arrive. cameron's classmates. it's graduation day. >> cameron not being able to walk with us definitely, you know, kind of makes me a little heartbroken. my best friend. >> reporter: they don caps and gowns for a makeshift ceremony. >> you don't have your tassel? >> there's one in the kitchen >> go get it. >> reporter: while the future is bright for them, cameron's is still unknown. he is facing the possibility of ten years to life for rape and
district attorney hallie dixon is showing no signs of mercy, local hero though he may be. do football players get a free pass? >> absolutely not. not as long as we're prosecuting these cases. they will not get a free pass. >> reporter: so for you there's no question. cameron harrison is a rapist. >> there's no question. i'm not saying that he is this evil human being. i am saying what he did was wrong. >> reporter: when we come back, cameron harrison's day in court is coming. >> we did everything we could to block the camera crews. >> reporter: savannah braces for a face to face showdown. >> he did wrong. every choice has a consequence. >> reporter: the stunning conclusion, next we, the tv loving people, want our whole house to be filled with entertainment. roooooaaar!!! easy boy.
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>> reporter: after 18 grueling months, it was supposed to be judgment day. the stage was set. cameron harrison and savannah face to face. both lives irreparably and forever changed. but something else has changed here in baldwin county since that infamous house party. that brash district attorney hallie dixon decides not to seek re-election. and a new d.a. takes a fresh look at the case. and just weeks ago, on the eve of cameron's trial, a stunner. >> cameron harrison has been granted youthful offender status. >> reporter: cameron harrison takes a plea deal under youthful offender status. the terms and conditions of the deal, all settled in secrecy. >> it allows the proceeding to be treated sort of like a juvenile proceeding, meaning everything gets sealed, the public doesn't find out what happens, it eventually gets erased from the record.
>> nothing about the case is public. >> reporter: all we know tonight is that cameron is not in jail. an outcome agreed to by both sides. >> the key when thinking about why was a deal cut is to look to the alleged victim. was that because she was pressured by the d.a.? who knows. was it because she didn't want to testify? a smart move for the defendant. if he can not serve time, get treated as a youthful offender. >> reporter: cameron and his family were scheduled to do an interview with us. however, part of that plea agreement prevented both sides from talking further about the case. >> it's not really a resolution at all. those people who look at him as a criminal or her as a liar, they're never going to be dissuaded because there's no real conclusion. >> reporter: for many, the case ending, just like it started -- in a fog. >> what happened behind that locked door will stay behind that locked door.
>> the reminder for parents is underage drinking and limited supervision can lead to some pretty dangerous consequences. >> reporter: and that may leave you wondering about that grandmother, the only adult present that night. she pled guilty to a charge of hosting the party and allowing she got six months probation and was fined $250. telling local reporters -- >> it's a sad situation for all parties in involved. i trusted teenagers. that was my problem. >> reporter: as for savannah, when we last spoke before the plea deal, she had this to say about cameron. if you could say something to him right now, what would you say? >> i forgive you. >> reporter: you do? >> yes. life's too short to harbor any pain and anger. my way of starting off closure is forgiving. >> reporter: she is now on her way to college, and says she hopes to inspire other young women who may have been sexually assaulted. >> i used to think that i was
weak, dramatic, too emotional, couldn't handle anything and then going through this, i've realized how strong i really am and that i underestimated myself the whole time. >> she plans to study abroad and get an international business degree. >> that's our program tonight. thank you for watching. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. from all of us, thanks for a mysterious discovery at bay area water tank. >> tonight is