Tags: boys | arrested | girl | suicide

3 Boys Arrested in Girl's Sexual-Assault Suicide Hinted at on Facebook

Friday, 12 Apr 2013 08:44 AM

 

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Three 16-year-old boys have been arrested on charges of sexual battery eight months after a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted while passed out at a party, then humiliated by online photos of the assault. The girl posted on Facebook that her life was ruined, "worst day ever," and hanged herself.

For the next eight months, her family struggled to figure out what happened to their soccer loving, artistic, horse crazy daughter, with a gentle smile, long dark hair and shining eyes. And then on Thursday, seven months after the tragedy, a California sheriff's office arrested the three boys.

"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," said a family attorney.

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"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."
The attorney said students used cellphones to share photos of the attack, and that the images went viral.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Lt. Jose Cardoza said it arrested two of the teens at Saratoga High School and the third, a former Saratoga High student, at Christopher High School in Gilroy on Thursday. The names of the suspects were not released because they are minors.
Cardoza said the suspects were booked into juvenile hall and face two felonies and one misdemeanour each, all related to sexual battery that allegedly occurred at a Saratoga house party.

The lieutenant said the arrests were the result of information gathered by his agency's Saratoga High School resource officers. He said the investigation is ongoing, and Los Gatos police also continue looking into the girl's September suicide.

The 15-year-old victim was identified as Audrie Pott. The Associated Press does not, as a rule, identify victims of sexual assault. But in this case, Pott's family wanted her name and case known, the family attorney said. The family also provided a photo to the AP.

The girl's family members did not comment and have requested privacy until a planned news conference. Her father and step-mother Lawrence and Lisa Pott, along with her mother Sheila Pott, have started the Audrie Pott Foundation (audriepottfoundation.com) to provide music and art scholarships and offer youth counselling and support.

The foundation website alludes to the teen's struggles, but until now neither law enforcement, school officials nor family have discussed the sexual battery.

"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."

On the day Pott died, Saratoga High School principal Paul Robinson announced her death, stunning classmates. Two days later other students and staff wore her favorite color, teal, in her honour.

Robinson wasn't immediately available for comment Thursday.

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The Pott family is not alone.

In Canada on Thursday, authorities said they are looking further 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 on 17-year-old girl 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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© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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