Local outrage ensued. The prosecutor drew heated criticism. Carr praised the three witnesses for rescuing a young girl from what she called a "horrible situation." But she insisted that what they saw that night wasn't enough to prosecute. The biggest problem for a jury, she said, would be that "the girl did not remember" what happened to her.
In the face of continued criticism, Carr called in State Attorney General Jerry Brown after two weeks to judge the evidence. The attorney general's investigation dragged on for nearly a year, offering a glimmer of hope for those who wanted a trial.
The baseball players, who said the girl had consented to have sex, had little public support. But defense lawyer John Cahners, who represented one of the ballplayers, said there is a side to the story the public never heard.
"It was apparent to a lot of the witnesses that she wanted sex that night," Cahners said.
He cited a purported provocative dance between the girl and one of the ballplayers. "They call it, in a nice way, a lap dance; it was very, very sexual," the lawyer said. "If she's asking people to have sex with her, and if people are having sex with her, there's no ... that's not illegal. That's consensual. Now, if she's asking more than one, then that's up to her."
The alleged rape victim has said that she never consented to sex with anyone that night.
Brown decided last year not to file charges, citing "insufficient evidence for prosecution," questionable accounts from partygoers who had consumed "large amounts of alcohol" and, in general, "wildly conflicting statements."
Believing she was robbed of her day in criminal court, the alleged victim has now filed a civil suit for unspecified damages against nine of the De Anza ballplayers, accusing them of, among other things, rape and/or failure to stop an assault.
As for the De Anza baseball players, they declined repeated requests by "20/20" for an interview.
But one of the ballplayers' mothers, Jenna Skinner, sent an e-mail message.
"Talk to your kids about what happened here," wrote Skinner, whose son Chris is a defendant. "Don't think something like this can't happen to you. When you drink too much, you are not able to control what goes on around you. And you could end up in a nightmare like this, even if you don't do anything wrong."
As for Grolle, Chief Elk and Bryeans, they make appearances on college campuses, speaking for a campaign that they inspired called No Woman Left Behind. They tell their tale to auditoriums filled with college students.
"From that moment until now," said Chief Elk, who, like Grolle, was 19 at the time, "we will always know that we watched a rape happen."