Friday, 12 April 2013

So sad: 3 teens arrested after girl commits suicide over being ganged raped and bullied online


Eight days after allegedly being sexually battered while passed out at a  party, and then humiliated by online photos of the assault, 15-year-old Audrie  Pott 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 Northern California  sheriff’s office arrested three 16-year-old boys on charges of sexual battery.
“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 family attorney Robert Allard.
“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.”
Allard said students used cell phones 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 misdemeanor 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 on-going, and Los Gatos police also continue looking into the girl’s  September suicide.
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, Allard 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 Tuesday. Her father and step-mother 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 neither  law enforcement, school officials nor family has 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 honor.
Robinson wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday.
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  Rehtaeh Parsons 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 Parsons’ case.

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