Teens admit to raping and photographing intoxicated girl who later killed herself
Three teens admitted to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old California girl who later hanged herself.
Court records show the teens admitted to digitally penetrating Audrie Pott while she was passed out drunk Sept. 2, 2012, and possessing cellphone photos of her seminude body.
Two 16-year-olds pleaded guilty in September to felony counts in the case, and a 17-year-old pleaded guilty in December to five felony counts.
Audrie told investigators she awoke to find her shorts pulled down and arrows, circles and lewd comments written in Sharpie marker on her body.
An attorney for the girl’s family had said the boys shared the photos online, but court documents indicate prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to prove the boys widely circulated the images.
“It has become quite clear to us that the suspects refuse to accept responsibility or show remorse for their actions,” said Robert Allard, an attorney for the Potts family. “The fact that they have not learned their lesson is demonstrated by the fact that two of these young adults, even after Audrie’s death, have continued to engage in ‘slut shaming’ other young women through, for example, the dissemination of nude photographs.”
Audrie’s family made her name and case public after her death.
Two of the boys have already finished serving 30 days – all during weekends – at a juvenile facility, while a third boy is currently serving 45 consecutive days in juvenile detention, sources told San Jose Mercury News.
They were also ordered to perform community service and undergo counseling.
The case has been kept secret for months because juvenile court records are not open to the public, but the newspaper recently obtained the court documents.
The sentences the boys received are much shorter than they would have received for sexual assault convictions in adult court, which carry maximum 10-year prison terms in California.
Two teens in Steubenville, Ohio, received one- and two-year sentences in juvenile detention after their convictions in connection with the sexual assault of an intoxicated teenage girl.
Two of the boys in the Santa Clara County, California, case were 15 years old at the time of the assault, and the third boy was 16.
The two younger boys continue to attend Saratoga High School, where Audrie had been a classmate, and the older boy has transferred to another school.
Court records show two of the boys had additional photos of nude girls on their phone months after Audrie killed herself but before their April 2013 arrest.
They admitted to additional felony counts of possessing or controlling sexual photos of girls under 18, the records show.
Audrie’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the boys, who are all high school juniors.
An attorney for one of the teens said the girl’s divorced parents, and not the boys, were at least partially to blame for her suicide.
But social media posts the girl made after the party, where she passed out after drinking vodka and Gatorade, indicate that the assault weighed heavily on her mind.
“My life is over,” Audrie posted in a private Facebook message shortly before taking her own life. “I have a reputation for a night I don’t even remember, and the whole school knows.”
She hanged herself at her mother’s home Sept. 10, 2012, and died two days later.