Steubenville Rape: Bystanders Under Fire

Should the teens who filmed the young woman being sexually assaulted be held accountable?
2:56 | 03/22/13

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Transcript for Steubenville Rape: Bystanders Under Fire
We turn now to an abc news exclusive here. New video from that american town that so loves its football, to rocked by that case of sexual assault. Tonight, for the first time, we see the police interviews with some of the teenagers who watched it unfold. Some of them recording it. And toptd, new questions for any parent with a kid who has a cell phone. Can they be held accountable for what they capture on their phones and not acting on it? Here's my "20/20" co-anchor elizabeth vargas tonight. Reporter: These are the exclusive tapes no one has seen until now. I could tell that she was gradually getting more drunk and Reporter: Police interviews one of the teenagers who witnessed that 16-year-old girl getting more and more intoxicated. She was a mess. She wasn't responding, she was passed out. question tonight is why did this boy and others stand by and watch her being sexually assaulted, instead of calling for help? Spreading it through town and turning it into a social media event. How many pictures did you take while you were at the house? There were two. Reporter: There were more, tweets, even a youtube video made by a teen who wasn't even there. She is so raped right now. Reporter: And this graphic photograph of the boys who would later assault her, carrying her seemingly unconscious body. Investigators now want to know how could so many honor students, athletes, all-american kids stand by and let this happen without anyone calling for help? Not when she's throwing up in the street, not when she's passed out on the couch. Exactly. A lot of teens are drinking alcohol. They have just, you know, entered that phase where decision-making is completely gone out the window. Reporter: One of the football players at the center of the case told us exclusively of the teen's mindset that night. If I would have thought that somebody was being raped or anything like that, I would have stopped that. Reporter: That's been a lot of the criticism of the other boys. Everybody was laughing at her, but nobody was helping her. I really just think that everybody was just -- had a few drinks in them and wasn't really thinking. And elizabeth vargas here with us on the desk tonight. He does not believe what transpired that night was a crime. Reporter: No, he didn't. And neither did any of the other children that night, the teenagers that night. That's why so many got out their cell phones, not because they thought they were chronicling a crime, but remembers the moment. You mentioned the cell phones. A lot of parents out there say, my kid's got a cell phone. Can they be held accountable for what they roll on? Reporter: That is potentially possible. In ohio, it is a felony to fail to report a crime. The catch is, you have to know that it was a crime that you were witnessing. And that's where the big holdup might come but there is a grand jury being in panel in april and they'll look into it. Elizabeth, you've been on this from the start. Y we want you to know you can see more right here on "20/20." See you at 10:00 eastern tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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