17-year-old girl speaks out about the night she was ‘raped by a high school football star, aged 16, while unconscious’ – Her attacker entered a secret plea deal in a controversial case that shattered the peace of the small Alabama town
‘I could hear things going on, but my eyes were shut’
17-year-old Savannah claims she was raped by Cameron Harrison at a house party in Spanish Fort, Alabama in October 2015
Teen said she was unconscious while Harrison a star running back in the local high school raped her
Savannah, 16 at the time of the assault, has no recollection of the night she was allegedly assaulted
Cameron, then 18, was charged with first-degree rape just days after the attack, but his arrest roiled their town with many supporting Cameron and vilifying the victim on social media
In April Harrison took a secret plea deal in a case that divided her Alabama town
Savannah who has waived her rights to anonymity said she’s forgiven Cameron and hopes to warn other women who have been sexually assaulted
Teenager Savannah, claims she was raped by Cameron Harrison while she was drunk and unconscious at a house party in Spanish Fort, Alabama in October 2015
A teenager rape victim insists she was unconscious when she was assaulted as age of 15 by an 18-year-old a local sports hero in October 2015.
Savannah’s insistence that she was raped by a high school football star divided their small Alabama town, [pop. about 7000], has spoken out for the first time since her alleged attacker took a secret plea deal in April.
Savannah, then 16, claims she was attacked by an 18-year-old Cameron while she was drunk and unconscious at a house party in Spanish Fort with a number of their high school friends.
Cameron, who was Spanish Fort High School’s running back, was arrested and charged with first-degree rape just days after the attack.
The 17-year-old, who until now hasn’t been publicly identified waived her right to anonymity and told ABC’s 20/20 in an interview which airs at 10 pm Friday night that she remembers very little from the night she was allegedly raped by Cameron Harrison.
The alleged assailant took a plea deal two months ago and the case was settled in secret
The victim in the ABC interview admits she drank a large amount of alcohol in a short time on the night and last remembers feeling dizzy.
‘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 felt myself kind of fading out from having control of myself,’ she told 20/20 in an interview set to air Friday night.
‘I could hear things going on, but it’s like my eyes were shut.’
‘I had been to parties. I had drunk and I had been around alcohol but not to this level… I was just stupid. I wasn’t thinking of the consequences it would have on my body to do that.’
It’s like I wasn’t even in my body… I could hear things going on, but it’s like my eyes were shut.
The next day, she woke up feeling disgusted with herself: “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,” Savannah said.
“I felt like I was that drunk girl at the party, and I knew everyone was going to talk about it.”
￼￼Savannah [left] says she was sexually assaulted by local football star Cameron Harrison [right] and he may have gotten away with it due to a secret plea deal, She claims says she was unconscious when Harrison raped her in 2015
By her account, she only became aware of what happened at the party from her friends the following day. Savannah’s friends told her they took her upstairs to a bedroom to sleep it off, but when one of them came back to check on her 15 minutes they found body flung across the bed and a naked Cameron.
‘(Her friend) said ‘You know, you and Cameron had sex, but you were really messed up’. And I said, ‘You know, I don’t remember that’,’ Savannah said.
Her friend also told of how she was slumped over a toilet where she vomited at least 20 times and they found her wearing no bra and with her clothes on backwards.
Both Victim and alleged attacker were students at the local Spanish Fort High School in Spanish Fort, Alabama
The alleged assailant, Cameron Harrison, was the star running back for Spanish Fort High School, Alabama
Savannah said she later sent Cameron a Snapchat saying: ‘U didn’t rape me. I mean u took advantage of me but I forgive you and I know you were drunk.’
She said she initially thought she hadn’t been raped until her friends discussed it with her in a design class and they Googled the definition of rape.
‘I was thinking like brutal, like holding, tied down, like gun to your head, tight, just very violent. That’s what I thought (rape) was,’ Savannah said.
‘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.
Her conversation with her friends was overheard by a teacher and she was immediately sent to the guidance counselor.
Cameron was arrested a week later. He was released on bail but was suspended from his football team. He allegedly admitted to having sex with the girl and apologized to her family.
Savannah’s dad Joe told 20/20: ‘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 drink. I don’t care if she was doing drugs. It doesn’t matter. Nobody has a right to take something that’s not theirs.’
Out pouring of support for suspect, not the victim
Team spirit: After Harrison was charged and placed on house arrest, this towel used by a teammate playing for Spanish Fort High School football sends out a message of solidarity: ‘Doing it for 4 my boy Cam’
Savannah said she only learned of what happened at the party from her friends the following day. She said she had woken up feeling disgusted with herself, but Harrison’s arrest only brought her increased derision in the town
Small town clannishness: Students had Harrison’s jersey number [four] written on their wrists during the game, while others trolled Savannah on social media
But his arrest divided their town and many who supported Cameron started vilifying Savannah on social media.
His teammates and friends showed up to one football game wearing shirts with his number, four, on them. Others had the number four written on their wrists and various phrases associated with his jersey number.
He pleaded not guilty to the rape charge in July 2016. Cameron took a plea deal two months ago and the case was settled in secret under the youthful offender status.
Savannah said she had forgiven Cameron and hoped her story could help other women who had been assaulted.
‘I used to think that I was you know, weak, dramatic, too emotional, you know, couldn’t handle anything,’ she said.
‘Then going through this, I’ve realized how strong I really am and that I underestimated myself the whole time.’
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