this is "nightline." >> tonight, too drunk? is the party culture at universities really behind bad behavior on campus? that's part of the defense for two vanderbilt university athletes on trial for rape. plus exclusive details inside an epic journey of triumph. climbing their way to the top. agonizing details from the men who made the climb of a lifetime. how they almost didn't make it. and now, jen and angelina have more in common than brad pitt. why the oscar snubs are causing quite a stir. first, the "nightline 5." >>
good even. thanks for joining us. it's a familiar refrain. accusations of campus rape following a drunken night of partying. two former vanderbilt football players pleading not guilty to sexual assault. but there's a twist. their lawyers pointing a finger at the hard-core college party culture. but that is really a defense against charges of rape? here's my "nightline" coanchor
byron pitts for our series "crime and punishment." >> reporter: tonight, a different campus, different names. but we've seen this before. a toxic mix of binge drinking and bad behavior. the central question facing one of america's most prestigious colleges. the men accused, the woman involved. was it rape? prosecutors insist, beyond a reasonable doubt. >> their worst nightmare. >> reporter: the young woman a neuroscience major at vanderbilt, drunk and passed out. >> she doesn't remember anything until the next morning. >> reporter: two of the accused have agreed to testify against the others leaving brandon van der berg ask corey beatty on trial for sexual assault. van der berg was the alleged victim's boyfriend. >> you see video, they arrive. >> reporter: prosecutors claim surveillance video shown in court today shows the alleged victim being carried by vandenberg to his dorm room accompanied by beatty and two
others. >> vandenberg [ bleep ]. >> reporter: according to prosecutors the four players who have since been kicked off the team laughed at the victim before they allegedly assaulted her. >> vandenberg gives everyone a condom. >> reporter: vandenberg allegedly recording the assault on his phone. prosecutors claiming he sent pictures and video of the attack to his friends and searched online how to leave photos so the police can't find them. later prosecutors say the former players are pleading not guilty texted each other about the alleged attack trying to cover it up. >> you'll see some text messages very concerned about what the victim knows. >> reporter: the defense will argue the young men are not guilty of rape with beatty's lawyer claiming it's the college culture that put his clients in this situation. >> it was the culture that encouraged sexual promiscuity. but not just alone. it was also a culture of alcohol. >> she drank quite a lot of
alcohol. mixed drinks shots. reports she drank more than usual >> it came in the way of television. shows like "jersey shore." >> reporter: in this culture of sex and alcohol, the defense will argue, further instilled with reality shows like "jersey shore" that glamorize and promote drinking and sex. what do you make of the defense argument that this is part of the college culture? >> when you use this college culture argument you're making the concept of well, these guys are drunk, out of control, but how did they get that way? it's from tv it's from sex, and all these things came in to create what oar seeing. they're not rapists, says the defense, they're people who are acting this way because of the culture around them. >> reporter: today in court the defense started to poke holes in how police conducted their investigation. also raising questions about the dna evidence. >> and you only found some -- one stain on a greenish-blue towel, correct?
>> as far as the floresce that's correct. >> reporter: it comes on the heels of a national debate about the prevalence of rape on college campuses. >> it makes me wonder if kids who are watching porn or seeing videos that are oversexualized that it triggers their fantasy life, and in college when they're acting out and they don't have any barriers somehow are more inclined to act out their own pornographic fantasies with women who are not okay with it. >> reporter: roughly 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year. and that's only the cases actually reported. >> but what's frightening is girls who go into college may have an increased risk of getting raped than girls who don't. so that's stating that we have a problem in terms of how women are being experienced like objects that don't matter.
it's almost like a caveman mentality. a view of women. >> reporter: in this case perhaps a sign universities are becoming increasingly proactive. it was authorities at vanderbilt that sounded the alarm, landing four other students accused. >> they mentioned vandalism at vanderbilt that night. and some of the authorities at vanderbilt were looking at surveillance video of the dorms. while reviewing that video they saw [ muted ] in the hall. they didn't know what else had happened. but they believed that was concerning so they called the police. >> reporter: legal analysts tell us this will not be a case of he says, she says but what a camera may show. in a case in which the alleged victim doesn't remember what happened, the accused say rape didn't occur. how vital is that surveillance tape? >> the surveillance tape is critical because it tells the story of what happened leading up to the alleged assault.
the critical thing, i think, are going to be these videotapes that brandon vandenberg one of the defendants allegedly took with his cell phone. not only videos but photos. if those depict the kids raping this young girl, that's it game over. >> reporter: reporter roxanne jones has covered many rape cases. >> what similarity dozen you see with the cases you've covered? >> the cases are all similar. the only thing that's changed is technology. it's the technology that's now brought us almost in the room as these events happen. >> reporter: she's also a mother with a son in college. she recently wrote a controversial op ed about the advice she's given her son. >> in fact now an app has come out that you can do exactly this. it's not perfect. but get a text that says -- that shows what the mood was before you guys had sex. >> reporter: oenchts come on. >> jimmy: >> everyone laughs at this but use technology to describe or get an acknowledgement, you're coming to the room to hook up and have second.
text the next day, it was great, i'd love to see you again. or never want to see you again. >> reporter: in a world no means no, a woman could say ten minutes after the text. >> that's why i said the next morning, you have a confirmation. >> reporter: however parents have the conversation, experts insist it must be had. >> find out what is the college you're considering doing about these kinds of incidents. what is the history of the college tell you about how they handle these crimes. and the other piece is have an open dialogue with your child. let them know these kinds of things are happening. and to take precautions that they need to take. >> reporter: all it took was one night to stun a university and derail the lives of several students. all young, all gifted, and all allegedly drunk. for "nightline," i'm byron pitts in new york. up next we go to the top of
yosemite for what some say is the toughest climb in the world. and see the gasp-producing oscar snubs this year. >> you fight harder than those irth guys and you win. >> and to makes the best of it. cold medicines open your nose over time, but add a breathe right strip and pow, it opens your nose up to 38% more. so you can breathe and do the one thing you want to do sleep. add breathe right to your cold medicine shut your mouth and sleep right. breathe right. and look for the calming scent of new breathe right lavender in the sleep aisle. ♪ ♪ ♪ abe!
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>> reporter: these are the breathtaking final moments -- of the 3,000-foot-journey finally coming to a dramatic and heartwarming end. two professional freeclimbers 36-year-old tommy caldwell and 30-year-old kevin jorgeson performing the seemingly impossible for the first time ever. freeclimbing the massive don wall at yosemite's el captain rock formation. tonight the real inside story of how it all happened from their own mouths. >> thought crossed my mind that actually i should throw in the towel. >> reporter: the duo documenting their journey up the largest vertical piece of sheer granite in the world. using only their hands and feet to grasp, hoist, pull and at times leap their way across
treacherous terrain. roping only there to protect themselves from falling. this record-breaking attempt, no impulse climb. it was seven years in the making. tommy and kevin having planned every step of the way. >> the don wall is the last big wall that hadn't been freeclimbed. when you stand at the base and you look up it looks like 3,000 feet of blankness. >> reporter: this footage was shot by a production company that has been following caldwell and jorgeson throughout their entire yosemite quest for an upcoming documentary. >> i'm grabbing these minuscule edges, jumping between holds, taking huge falls. >> there's an element of am i going to be able to do this? >> reporter: the climb begins on december 27th. >> we're at the base of the captain. >> what's today? >> today is the day. >> today is the day.
>> we climbed all day, we started about 10:00 a.m. we didn't finish until about 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. >> reporter: the partners trudging through long days of hard climbing. eating, rest, and even sleeping on the rock wall. building these makeshift tents, hanging off the side of the deadly cliff. >> so i thought i'd give you a little tour of our camp setup. pretty sweet. >> right now just lounging. got the feet up. my shoes are clipped here which double as like a little night stand. got my ipad for reading books. for anyone that's curious, this is our breakfast setup. we've got a little breakfast sandwich. pretty good eating up here. >> reporter: incredibly despite the extreme locations the pair is able to get cell phone reception reception, posting updates to instagram, facebook and twitter by solar charging their phones. danger an absolute constant
across the wall with weather quickly turning brutal along the way. >> it was really cold. i think a lot of ice built up. usually a chunk would come down bounce off you relatively harmlessness. yesterday there were big hunks that come flying by. >> reporter: the near-freezing temperatures are ideal for gripping the mountain. but the climbers' hands taking a beating. to keep their fingers in shape they sand them to prevent dead skin and apply lotion several times a day. >> we're taking a rest day today because our skin took a beating. right now i've got to take two of those three fingers. which definitely makes it hard to feel what you're hanging on to. so i gave it four all-out efforts and didn't sand. which is disappointing. >> reporter: day eight the pistol too much for kevin. the younger climber gets separated from his partner on
one of the most perilous stretches of the climb. try as he might, he can't beat the dangerous section of rock battling for seven days and falling 11 times. >> not going to lie, i was pretty devastated. thoughts crossed my mind that i should just throw in the towel and support tommy to the top. because he's through all the hard parts. >> reporter: tommy, just ahead on the wall, refusing to leave his partner behind. waiting for kevin the entire seven-day stretch. >> i am confident that i'm going to put it down and move on to the dino pitch and go catch up with tommy and talk this thing out. so that's the latest. i really want to do this thing. >> reporter: then on day 15 -- >> yeah, yeah! just got to get this big handle -- right there, yes. >> reporter: kevin jorgeson literally turns the corner. >> when he gets over this little corner he's home. >> yeah!
whoo! >> he did it. yeah. beautiful. killed it. >> over the course of seven days, 11 tries, finally did it. and this is a view that i'll always remember but i'm not sad to be moving past. >> reporter: from there, it was a four-day push to the top. the partners pulling each other the last inch. arriving at the top together. >> anything in life that you set a goal for yourself to be able to endure for that long that is worth, this story is telling people it's worth struggling it's worth the struggle for the end result. >> reporter: it's a struggle tommy has faced his entire life. 2001 he lost half his index finger in a home remodeling accident with a table saw. then unbelievably in 2000 -- >> now an amazing real-life
survival story. last month, four american travelers, all in their 20s set out on an adventure vacation. >> reporter: an adventure cut short when the group was kidnapped by rebel militants in kyrgyzstan. >> i was very scared the whole time but i was hoping that either someone would come and save us or that we could escape somehow. >> reporter: in fact, it was tommy who saved the day, pushing their captor over a cliff ledge and leading his companions to safety. at the time, he spoke with abc news about the ordeal. >> we were seriously fearing for our lives, we did not know what was going to happen to us. >> they're back with loved ones today after a climb of a lifetime. >> these experiences, it makes him realize what he has and what he wants. he's able to use that and push through, push harder. tommy thinks that everyone's inspired by the same thing that kevin and himself are inspired by. dream big, shooting for the stars, making it happen. >> reporter: for "nightline,"
i'm adidi roy in yosemite national park. coming up the buzz behind this year's oscar snubs. and the heated debate around who didn't make the academy's list this time around. shrimp? who are you calling a shrimp? that, my friend, is a big shrimp. it's red lobster's big shrimp festival. i get to pick my perfect pair from six creations for just $15.99. so open wide for crispy jumbo tempura shrimp with soy ginger sauce, and make room for creamy shrimp scampi linguini. yeah, we're gonna need a bigger fork. unless i eat those spicy sriracha grilled shrimp right off the skewer. don't judge me. join me. but hurry, because the big shrimp festival ends soon.
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pitt was the only thing jennifer aniston and angelina jolie had in common think again. when it comes to oscar nods many saying both women were snubbed. aniston overlooked for her performance as a drug addict in "cake." >> i am in a lot of pain. >> reporter: jolie's "unbroken." failing to get her a look for best director. and falling short in the best picture category. >> why would i come? you're not going to win. >> i know that. >> in a deposition what to say, what not to say -- >> reporter: "gone girl's" chances for best picture also gone. >> this is all that we've ever wanted. >> reporter: no luck for "foxcatcher." >> do you have any idea who i am? >> no, no. ♪ >> reporter: and on martin luther king jr.'s birthday "selma" snubbed. while director ava d echltebernier
will be on hand in case the film picks up best picture, she won't be getting a golden man of her own. neither will david owelyolo who starred in the film playing martin luther king jr. tonight the lack of diversity among nominees sparking backlash on twitter. #oscarsowhite. people behind films that were lucky enough to score nominations like "american sniper" -- >> don't pick it up. >> reporter: and "birdman" know it's the first step down a long road. leonardo dicaprio has been nominated for best actor four times. >> and the oscar goes to -- matthew mcconaughey. >> reporter: but never won. but the director of one snubbed fan favorite, "the lego movie," seems to be keeping his chin up. ♪ >> reporter: tweeting it's okay, made my own. >> now that's a consolation
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