On a warm Saturday evening in Spanish Fort, Alabama, a group of about 40 high school students got together for a house party and a night of alcohol-infused fun.
It was October 2015 and high school senior, Gage Roberts, was celebrating his 18th birthday. His 58-year-old grandmother, Cathy Roberts, allowed him to have friends over to her rented home in an exclusive golf course community. While Cathy stayed in her bedroom upstairs, emerging on occasion, the teens drank whiskey, beer, wine coolers and other alcohol they had brought to the party, according to court documents and interviews given to “20/20.”
Many of the partygoers were players from the undefeated Spanish Fort High School football team, including then-18-year-old senior and running back Cameron Harrison.
That night, something happened at the party that would later lead to Harrison’s facing criminal charges and divide the town of Spanish Fort. A 16-year-old girl named Savannah alleged he had sex with her while she was unable to give consent after becoming too intoxicated.
Six of the students who say they were at the party sat down with ABC News “20/20” to share what they experienced.
Haley, a high school senior and Harrison’s friend, said word about the party spread quickly and people outside their normal friend group showed up that night.
“It was not a typical weekend party,” she said. “Everyone was texting about it… It was probably like one of the biggest parties I’ve been to in Spanish Fort.”
When she walked in, Haley said the party was full swing.
“There was rap music playing … hair slinging, and arms flailing,” she said. “You were just kind of like, ‘Wow.’”
The party was “hectic,” Will said. “People running around, dancing, [there was] beer pong, playing video games, the drinks were definitely flowing.”
When he saw Savannah at the party, Will said she seemed fine.
“She was conscious, walking around, having a good time … not stumbling,” he said. “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 have at that point.”
Aly said the first time she saw Savannah at the party, Savannah was on the couch.
“One of her friends was pouring a little alcohol in her mouth and she was just dancing around,” Aly said.
After a while, Aly said some of the seniors wanted to go to the clubs in Mobile, Alabama, so she and her friend Haley decided to go with them.
“We were going to go check out the scene, you know, not really drinking and stuff,” she said. “We had never been.”
She said they tried to persuade Harrison to join them.
“We were like, ‘Cameron, you coming?’” Aly said. “He was like, ‘No, I can’t get in any trouble tonight. I’m just going to stay here.’”
As she and Haley were about to leave, Aly said they saw Savannah being carried up the stairs.
“She was laughing, and she was fine,” she said. “She was like, ‘No, I want to go back downstairs.’”
Taylor was one of the people to help carry Savannah upstairs so she could recover from drinking too much.
“We were all just laughing, making a joke out of it because it was funny,” she said. “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.”
On the way upstairs, Taylor said Savannah’s head dropped and it hit the stairs. “She didn’t like that, so she was like, ‘Oh, let me go!’ So she got up and she walked off.”
The next time Taylor said she spoke to Savannah was when they were getting a ride home at the end of the party.
“I asked her, ‘Are you OK?’ and she told me, ‘I think I had sex with Cameron,’” Taylor said.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Joseph Diaz, Keturah Gray and Lauren Effron