3 teens arrested after California girl’s suicide

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This undated photo provided by her family via attorney Robert Allard shows Audrey Pott. A Northern California sheriff’s office has arrested three 16-year-old boys on accusations that they sexually battered the 15-year-old girl who hanged herself eight days after the attack last fall. Santa Clara County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jose Cardoza says the teens were arrested Thursday, April 11, 2013, two at Saratoga High School and a third at Christopher High School in Gilroy. AP Photo/Family photo provided by attorney Robert Allard

SARATOGA, California — Eight days after being sexually assaulted by friends while passed out at a party, and then humiliated by online photos, 15-year-old Audrie Pott posted on Facebook that her life was ruined, “worst day ever,” and hanged herself, the family’s lawyer said.

For the next eight months, her family struggled to figure out what happened to their soccer-loving, artistic, horse-crazy daughter, whose gentle smile, long dark hair and shining eyes belied a struggling soul.

And then on Thursday, a California sheriff’s office arrested three 16-year-old boys on suspicion of sexual battery. The arrests “reopened a wound” for family members of Pott, and they have gone into seclusion, family attorney Robert Allard said.

“The family has been trying to understand why their loving daughter would have taken her life at such a young age and to make sure that those responsible would be held accountable,” Allard said.

“After an extensive investigation that we have conducted on behalf of the family, there is no doubt in our minds that the victim, then only 15 years old, was savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students while she lay on a bed completely unconscious,” he said.

Allard said students used cell phones to share photos of the September 2012 assault, and the images went viral.

He said Friday that the girl saw an intimate photo being passed around online and pieced together from emails and text messages that her friends had victimized her while she slept.

Allard did not provide additional details about how she was assaulted but he said she had fallen asleep after drinking at a sleepover.

Family members of the girl said on Friday they suspect the attackers tried to destroy evidence. The family claim was posted on a Facebook page for a foundation set up in her name. It did not provide further details, and the Santa Clara County sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Santa Clara County sheriff’s Lt. Jose Cardoza said the suspects were booked into juvenile hall and face two felonies and one misdemeanor each. Their names were not released because they are minors. Details about the assault were also not released.

A man walks through the parking lot at Saratoga High School in Saratoga, Calif., Friday, April 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Cardoza said the investigation is ongoing.

The Associated Press does not routinely identify victims of sexual assault. But in this case, Pott’s family wanted her name and case known, Allard said. The family also provided a photo to the AP.

The girl’s family members have not commented and have requested privacy until a planned news conference Tuesday. Her father and stepmother, Lawrence and Lisa Pott, along with her mother Sheila Pott, have started the Audrie Pott Foundation to provide music and art scholarships and offer youth counseling and support.

The foundation website alludes to the teen’s struggles, but until now law enforcement, school officials and family had not discussed the sexual assault.

“She was compassionate about life, her friends, her family, and would never do anything to harm anyone,” the site says. “She was in the process of developing the ability to cope with the cruelty of this world but had not quite figured it all out.

“Ultimately, she had not yet acquired the antibiotics to deal with the challenges present for teens in today’s society.”

The Pott family is not alone.

In Canada, authorities said Friday they were reopening an investigation into the case of a teenage girl who hanged herself Sunday after an alleged rape and months of bullying. A photo said to be of the 2011 assault was shared online.

No charges initially were filed against four teenage boys being investigated. But after an outcry, Nova Scotia’s justice minister appointed four government departments to look into the case.

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  • divictes

    Devils do exist, disguised as minors.

  • Sollie Sinson

    even minors, if they have the evil doings should be hanged.

  • WeAry_Bat

    When the action of a minor is no different from an adult, then the law should be applied like they were adult.

  • Raymondrp89

    this is so sad – we need to use technology to protect kids. Google Click2bsure….it may help!

  • kissbunkies

    I am shocked that a beautiful girl, a minor at a sleepover in another parents house was abused by her so called trusted friends.That they filmed it to intentionally harm her even more, which caused her to take her own life. The whole thing sounds like a staged set up to get to her. I hope the law deals fully with the sick individuals concerned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/estee.muri Estee Muri

    This is the problem .When a minor or minors committed a crime, NO NAMES or NAMES ARE WITHELD on the reason that they are minor.Then for God’s sake, , Publish the names of the parents so everybody can be protected to stay away from that family members. for a heinous crime their children had committed. Mahirap bang intindihin iyon? We should protect the Society , not protect the minors and their family ! Mahirap dito, the victims are victimized not only once but twice samantalang these so-called Minor and their family are protected , protect from What and from Whom?

  • rlo

    Well…..alcohol at a very young age and the lack of discipline. Doesn’t really make for good results. Maybe if cellphones with cameras existed during my teenage years. I might’ve done the same stupid thing. So parental guidance is a must. Take a photo and keep it to yourself.

  • Ibn Yusuf

    Now you should now why women like children are so vulnerable to abuse. We Muslims seek to protect them by enforcing the burka or niqab, no going out with males who are not close relatives and no intermingling of sexes. In the West men have the fun and women left holding the baby or their health seriously impaired by so called reproductive rights. Women in the West are let loose on the streets to be ravished by the wolves, hyenas and jackals. In true Islamic societies men are also safeguarded as they are not aroused by promiscuously dressed women strolling the streets – thus marriages are safeguarded, family life is secure and unmarried men do not go berserk sowing wild oats. Islamic divine wisdom is far superior to man made laws

  • http://www.funbench.com/ Muhammad Usman

    Why these girls have been arrested, there may be some other reasons behind it.

  • venkat2

    Such a tragedy. Perhaps immediately after sexual assaults they should be counselled or may be taken to a different country – hopefully a new environment does not give rise to these thoughts. They shouldn’t think it’s the end of their life. It should be the end of life for people who committed the crime and not the victim.

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