One Saturday night in March 2007, a college house party in San Jose, Calif., was under way. Members of the baseball team from nearby De Anza Community College were celebrating one ballplayer's birthday. Neighbors would later tell investigators that the house was a frequent crossroads for college kids and booze.
On the face of things, it was just another party. But it would end badly in a crowded room, and a frantic trip to the hospital.
In an interview with ABC News' "20/20," partygoers April Grolle, Lauren Chief Elk and Lauren Bryeans alleged that, at the end of the night, they witnessed some members of the baseball team gang rape a 17-year-old girl.
None of the three women, friends from the De Anza soccer team, knew the alleged victim, who seemed to be extremely intoxicated, they said. At some point, the 17-year-old found her way to a room with a group of ballplayers, they told "20/20."
According to Bryeans, 20 at the time, two ballplayers engaged in sexual activity with the high school student as she lay flat on her back on a mattress, apparently unconscious. Chief Elk said her pants appeared to have been "ripped off" and the mattress was surrounded by "about 10 pairs of legs." The 17-year-old had vomit on her body that later would be determined not to be her own.
Several investigations were launched to find out what happened in that room. Grolle, Chief Elk and Bryeans say they know.
Watch the full story tonight on "20/20."
The three women rushed the teen to an emergency room because they suspected alcohol poisoning and feared for her life, they said. Authorities were quickly called in to investigate a possible gang rape.
"We did hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of investigation," said Sheriff Laurie Smith of Santa Clara County, who headed up the case.
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Although authorities had the three eyewitness accounts, a major roadblock in the investigation would quickly surface. The teen had no memory of the incident.
"The investigation was frustrating to me," Smith said. "They were part of a baseball team from a college. ... I think there probably was a code of silence. They hung together and they didn't provide us with information that we needed."
The ballplayers did talk to their coach. Those who admitted that they were in the room were suspended from the team for violating the school's code of conduct. The sheriff's office concluded that the assault likely happened. The cased moved on to the Santa Clara District Attorney's office.
Then, in May 2007, the prosecutor's office made a decision that stunned Smith and others throughout the community. District Attorney Dolores Carr decided against filing criminal charges in the case.
"The way the case stands now, it is impossible to file charges and hope to get a conviction in this case," Carr said at the time.
Smith said, "The D.A. called me at home ... it was devastating."
Grolle, Chief Elk and Bryeans said they were crushed for the alleged victim. "There were three people who watched something happen," Chief Elk said. "And like, if that is not enough, then you know, why is rape even a crime?"