Cameron Harrison is accused of raping an unconscious girl at a party, but the 18-year-old high school football star is getting support from his classmates — even as he reportedly bragged about the crime.
The 18-year-old from Spanish Fort High School in Alabama is a standout on the football team, which is playing in the state’s tournament. But the five-foot-eight running back was held out of the most recent game and is on house arrest after a 16-year-old student accused Harrison of raping her while she was drunk and unconscious at a house party.
While Harrison may not have been on the bench, his classmates made sure he was remembered. According to Al.com, friends waved banners that read “Toros 4ever,” representing Harrison’s jersey number. Others wore shirts with his number or wrote a “4” on their wrists.
Meanwhile, some students have reportedly been making attacks on the alleged victim through social media.
“She’s the topic of a whole high school,” Capt. Jud Beedy told the New York Daily News. “Unfortunately, the verbal judo is affecting her. ‘He didn’t do it, she asked for it.’ Just nonsense chatter. It’s really upsetting her. Can’t you imagine?”
Superintendent Eddie Tyler condemned the support for the alleged rapist.
“I am making it clear that I, as superintendent, the board nor this school system will tolerate or condone bullying, intimidation or publicly supporting the violation of law or school board policy. We will deal with such actions appropriately,” Tyler said.
— A.M (@RealAbdulQadir) November 12, 2015
School officials have now taken action. After the game, they banned disruptive signs and symbols while the case moves its way through the justice system. Video from the party reportedly shows three people carrying the drunken victim into an upstairs room. She later awoke with pain in her vaginal area and immediately went to a hospital for treatment.
Cameron Harrison reportedly bragged about the incident, telling classmates that he sneaked into the upstairs room and had sex with the victim.
Football player allegedly bragged about raping 16-year-old to friends, who now defend him https://t.co/RBrPgypM8J
— USA TODAY HSS (@USATODAYhss) November 13, 2015
“He acknowledged that he had sex,” Cpl. Det. Jason Vannoy told the New York Daily News.
Reports indicated that Harrison also confronted the girl’s parents, telling them he had sex with the girl in an “arrogant” apology.
“He showed up at their house and told them he wanted to get his side of the story out and admitted to having intercourse with their daughter,” Vannoy said at the time.
To many, the case is reminiscent of the rape charges against football players in Steubenville, Ohio. The 2012 case involved a female student who accused several football players of raping her while she was incapacitated at a party. Like in Alabama, the accused teens found support among classmates — and even some coaches and administrators — and like in this case, there was also video footage that allegedly showed the incident.
The rape allegations found a national audience as stories uncovered what appeared to be a conspiracy to cover up the charges, despite admissions on social media from some of those involved. It also led to the hacktivist group Anonymous to release several videos and information on those allegedly involved.
The Steubenville rape case ended with the convictions for Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond for rape.
Cameron Harrison is now charged with first-degree rape. He is not the only one in trouble for the incident — 58-year-old Cathy Roberts, who allegedly hosted the party, is charged with allowing the consumption of alcohol by minors.
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