A 17-year-old girl who accused an Alabama high school football star of rape has spoken with ABC about her ordeal for an upcoming 20/20 segment.
The teenager, identified only as Savannah, spoke with the news station about a party she attended in October 2015, where she got so drunk she blacked out.
“The last thing that I remember is standing in the kitchen with everybody singing, ‘Happy Birthday,’” she said. “It’s like I wasn’t even in my body. It’s like my head was telling me like something’s not right, but I feel myself kind of fading out, like you know, from having control of myself.”
Sometime after that, a group of fellow students carried her upstairs and placed her on a bed, where a friend would later find her behind a locked door with Cameron Harrison, a star player on their high school’s football team who Savannah did not know very well.
When Savannah’s friend Jessica entered the room, she found Harrison naked, and it was very clear he and Savannah had engaged in sexual activity.
Friends of Savannah’s who spoke to ABC News appear to have different recollections about Savannah’s state of mind before the alleged assault.
One girl insisted that Savannah was laughing and seemed fine after she was carried upstairs, and another girl says she asked to go back downstairs.
But Jessica insists her friend was semi-conscious.
“She was just like laid out on the bed with like her eyes closed,” Jessica said. “She wasn’t fully conscious, but she wasn’t fully unconscious at that point … she’s kind of really like a zombie.”
Savannah told the news station that even though she realized she’d had sex with Cameron, she didn’t initially see it as an assault — even sending a Snapchat message to tell him that.
“U didn’t rape me. I mean u took advantage of me but I forgive you and I know you were drunk [sic].”
But at school, some of her friends insisted that she had been assaulted, and the classmates did an internet search to familiarize themselves with the definition of rape. A teacher overheard the discussion and sent Savannah to see a guidance counselor.
News of the incident quickly spread, and a teacher reportedly told Cameron to visit Savannah’s father and apologize.
Her father says that Cameron said the sex was consensual, and that “he only did our daughter for five minutes.”
Cameron’s lawyer told the news station that his client denies saying that.
The football player was arrested a week after speaking to Savannah’s father, and pleaded not guilty to a first degree rape charge.
— FOX10News | WALA (@FOX10News) April 18, 2017
He has since entered into a plea agreement under a youthful offender status, meaning that the details will remain private.
Savannah told ABC that she forgives Cameron, and that going public with her story has helped her heal.
“I feel strong that I can put that out there. I wanted to have a voice. I wanted people to see that I’m just a normal teenage girl who’s, you know, living just a teenage life,” Savannah said.
Savannah will appear on 20/20 Friday night at 10 p.m.
Photo: ABC News Screenshot