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3 California teens arrested for assault after girl's suicide

By Martha Mendoza

AP National Writer

LAST UPDATED: 10:16 a.m. HST, Apr 13, 2013

SAN JOSE, Calif. » A 15-year-old California girl committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted by three of her friends and a photo of the attack surfaced online, an attorney said Friday.

Robert Allard, a lawyer for the family of Audrie Pott, said she 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.

She hanged herself eight days after the September 2012 assault in the upscale bedroom community of Saratoga on the fringe of Silicon Valley.

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

The Santa Clara County sheriff's office arrested three 16-year-old boys on Thursday on suspicion of sexual battery in the case.

Sheriff's officials have not released the names of the suspects because of their ages, or details of the case.

Family members of Pott also believe the attackers tried to destroy evidence.

That claim was posted on a Facebook page for a foundation set up in the girl's name.

It did not provide further details on what type of evidence might have been targeted by the suspects. However, it asked any students with information to come forward,

The family went into seclusion after releasing the statement. Allard said the Thursday arrests "reopened a wound."

The Pott family was not alone in wrestling with such circumstances.

In Canada, the cousin of a young woman who committed suicide after an alleged assault and months of bullying issued an emotional appeal to people on Thursday not to use violence to avenge her death.

Angella Parsons stood before a somber crowd of about 300 people in a Halifax park to reflect on the short life of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons.

The gathering came after Rehtaeh's family said she hanged herself last week and was taken off life-support on Sunday.

In Steubenville, Ohio, two high school football players were recently convicted in the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl, an incident recorded on cellphones by students and gossiped about online.

In California, Pott posted on Facebook that her life was ruined, "worst day ever," then hanged herself, Allard said.

For the next eight months, until Thursday's arrests, 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.

"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 assault and the images went viral on the Internet.

Santa Clara County sheriff's Lt. Jose Cardoza said two of the teens were arrested at Saratoga High School and the third, a former Saratoga High student, at Christopher High School in Gilroy.

Cardoza said the suspects were booked into juvenile hall and face two felonies and one misdemeanor each.

The lieutenant 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 assault occurred in Saratoga, a bedroom community on the western edge of Silicon Valley. Once largely fruit orchards, it is now home to about 30,000 people, many of whom are affluent and highly educated.

Saratoga High School, with about 1,400 students, is one of the top schools in the state. Thirty percent of the current senior class are either semifinalists or commended in the National Merit Scholarship Program, and 97 percent of graduates enroll in college.

The girl's family members have requested privacy until a planned news conference on 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.

"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."

Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District Superintendent Bob Mistele offered sympathies to all the families involved in the case.

"Collaborating with our parents, students, staff and community, we will continue to work diligently to maintain a positive climate at our high schools based on respect, responsibility, and open communication that discourages cyberbullying and inappropriate conduct," his statement said.


On the Web: www.audriepottfoundation.com

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HAJAA1 wrote:
Make these pathetic losers pay. And their "parents" too.
on April 11,2013 | 08:29PM
romei wrote:
on April 12,2013 | 09:16AM
Nevadan wrote:
Yes. Also the parents who hosted the party!
on April 12,2013 | 01:11PM
hunebasami wrote:
If that was my daughter I wouldn't want them in jail. I would make them pay.
on April 11,2013 | 09:06PM
tobyclairmont wrote:
and people wonder why we need assault weapons...
on April 11,2013 | 10:37PM
Eradication wrote:
You're being sarcastic right?
on April 12,2013 | 12:30AM
mokebla wrote:
If this would've have happen in Hawai'i, the boys be free to do it again. I say waste them, if it was my son I'll do the honors. No girl or woman should be treated like that.
on April 12,2013 | 05:20AM
Usagi336 wrote:
That's right. Bunch of no good coward kids! Probably spoiled brats. If my son was involved I'd surely beat the cr@p out of him. But I know it's the parents fault that their kids have no respect for others.
on April 12,2013 | 09:26AM
RichardCory wrote:
Well, considering that some people would consider going out and taking justice into their own hands by killing people, we apparently do need assault weapons to protect ourselves against these nutcases.
on April 12,2013 | 08:01AM
Graham wrote:
Hope not...
on April 12,2013 | 09:55AM
dlum003 wrote:
pinhead comment
on April 12,2013 | 06:35AM
otoko wrote:
We are becoming desensitized by this type of behavior that's becoming more prevalent in society. Something has got to give.
on April 12,2013 | 07:01AM
dlum003 wrote:
Young ladies, rule#1: dont pass out at parties.
on April 11,2013 | 09:38PM
IAmSane wrote:
Young men, rule #1: don't rape.
on April 11,2013 | 09:45PM
environmental_lady wrote:
I agree with both of you but would add that young ladies should not attend parties and get drunk in parties as they are regarded as "fair game" by beastly young boys. It's like playing with fire, you'll likely get burnt.
on April 11,2013 | 10:56PM
Eradication wrote:
Doesn't matter. Rape is rape. It happens everywhere not just at parties. No one has the right to assault another person regardless of their condition. This person was a victim of rape. Everyone needs to understand that there is no such thing as "fair game". Sadly, no one stepped in to stop it and I'm sure there were other people around.
on April 12,2013 | 12:36AM
8082062424 wrote:
I agree with you rape is rape.But at the same time young girls have to not put them selves in a place this can happen. i feel for this poor girls family.
on April 12,2013 | 06:14AM
Anonymous wrote:
It's true - she is not at fault but still as a parent I would do everything possible to keep my daughter from getting into these kind of risky situations.
on April 12,2013 | 06:18AM
aomohoa wrote:
It's the age. They thing nothing can happen to me.
on April 12,2013 | 08:56AM
Allenk wrote:
Unfortunately, these hooligans were classmates and took advantage of the situation. One of them should have stepped up and stopped it immediately. Poor moral choices.
on April 12,2013 | 07:53AM
RichardCory wrote:
Rule #2: Never pour salt in your eyes.
on April 12,2013 | 08:03AM
nippy68 wrote:
rule #1 should've been dont drink till your of legal age!
on April 12,2013 | 06:12AM
ceria wrote:
So you think as long as they're passed out it's ok to rape them? You better tell that to all the females in your family.
on April 12,2013 | 09:51AM
kalaoa wrote:
Their names should be made public; sooner than when they get tried as adults.
on April 11,2013 | 10:17PM
carolm wrote:
And their pictures, too. Also, this should be on their records for LIFE - not wiped off their records in the future.
on April 12,2013 | 12:02PM
tambio wrote:
Shame on those boys. May they and whomever responsible for this poor girls suicide die a thousand painful deaths on earth and in hell
on April 11,2013 | 10:28PM
Eradication wrote:
Shame on all of us for fostering the belief in young boys that this type of animalistic behavior is somehow "macho". Shame on us all because we raised them.
on April 12,2013 | 12:38AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
Eradication, not all of us raised their sons to be animals. My son has always had good law-abiding friends.He's 10 times a better human being than I am. I was the problem child. My daughter was also a handful, but finally changed her ways. Also agree w/tambio. Regardless of the trial's outcome, they WILL answer to a higher Judge.
on April 12,2013 | 06:16AM
RichardCory wrote:
>implying there is a god >mfw
on April 12,2013 | 08:04AM
Kapua91 wrote:
I believe there is a God Almighty
on April 12,2013 | 09:23AM
kailuabred wrote:
A higher judge. What a joke! If there was a sky fairy, who would want to worship an entity who allows this? And if you do believe in that nonsense, you know that all the boys have to do is ask for forgiveness...and all is good with the sky fairy.
on April 12,2013 | 09:14AM
pakeheat wrote:
kailuabred, you need to know the bible which says you are subject to government authority also, so if they broke the laws they need to pay the consequences. BTW, if Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit but went ahead and disobeyed, so you are given a choice to obey or disobey which God gives us freely, Keep up!
on April 12,2013 | 10:44AM
Kapua91 wrote:
Thank you, I agree. Human did it not the Father. He gave us choices.
on April 12,2013 | 05:08PM
nitpikker wrote:
wrong!! "I" didnt raise them! "THEIR" parents raised them! "I" dont share their values!!
on April 12,2013 | 08:37AM
Valleyisle57 wrote:
I NEVER raised my son to be animalistic. Heaven help him if he ever did anything even close to this. I feel most of us teach our kids to be responsible, morally correct and respectful of others. I NEVER told him he had to be 'macho'. Dont confuse macho with being a strong man!!!!!!
on April 12,2013 | 10:28AM
BadBingo wrote:
It's a shame that they are teens because we won't get to see these rapists sniveling and crying in court like the defendants in Steubenville did. I can't wait for Anonymous to out the Canadian rapists.
on April 12,2013 | 03:00AM
CartwrightPark wrote:
God bless her and her parents. I pray they find comfort through this tough time.
on April 12,2013 | 04:29AM
awahana wrote:
WARNING: Your underage child has no business being in a party with alcohol and drugs. Mine is not even allowed a cellphone. No phone, no sexting, no problem.
on April 12,2013 | 05:08AM
onevoice82 wrote:
Bravo (or Brava) awahana, your simple warning drilled down to the core of the problem. As a society, we are raising pigs instead of responsible children! I would take it one step further and blame it on pursuit of worldly goods which provide the allusion that we need two parents in the work force, the straying from religion as the glue that keeps the family solid and finally, radical feminism( I would need 3 hours of typing to explain that one).
on April 12,2013 | 05:42AM
aomohoa wrote:
I hate to tell you but they sneak out.
on April 12,2013 | 08:58AM
Kaleo744 wrote:
I blame our society for being the way we freely do "as we please" attitude with no consequences or very little,but as individuals its a choice either you know or you dont know still a choice...too bad we dont make the right choices all the time
on April 12,2013 | 05:59AM
otoko wrote:
Hear! Here! Kaleo744! We continue to comprehend why animals eat their young!
on April 12,2013 | 07:03AM
Allenk wrote:
Just watch the programming on MTV - it's all about me.
on April 12,2013 | 07:55AM
808comp wrote:
This thing about names not being released because their minors is BS. What ashame that young people want to screw up their lives.
on April 12,2013 | 06:02AM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
Where were all of her so called friends? Did these boys think this was some kind of joke. I guess the children of today are so different than before. Girls were Tita back in the days and the boys didn't fool around with them. Back then we drank and got drunk but everyone took care of each other. Today society is all screwed up. I feel sorry for my grandchildren who have to live in the world of today. Hawaii is getting that way. What a dirty shame. I think it is because we let anyone live here.. Build more homes - over populated.
on April 12,2013 | 06:31AM
Usagi336 wrote:
We did take care of each other back in the day. The worst that would happen to a drunk female is everyone would laugh and say she no can handle! But now days, with all the TV programming, p@rn on the net etc, the kids are desensitized.
on April 12,2013 | 09:44AM
kainalu wrote:
Tragic, absolutely tragic. Such a beautfiul girl with her whole life in front of her.
on April 12,2013 | 07:09AM
edster48 wrote:
If I were to find out that my son had been involved in something like this I would begin by beating all the hair off of him. Then drag his behind down to the police and offer him up for punishment. No excuse for this kind of behavior, we have to teach our children better than this. While my daughter is too young for this kind of activity, I am teaching her to be responsible and not to put herself in the position where something like this could happen.
on April 12,2013 | 07:15AM
gth wrote:
edster48: I hope no one has to "beat" their kids for something like this, but I commend your comment. Some parents stand behind their kids even if the evidence proves they are guilty as charged.
on April 12,2013 | 08:25AM
pakeheat wrote:
Yes, like the ones who are in prison with long rap sheets and continue to break the law and the friends and parents say they are actually are good natured
on April 12,2013 | 10:51AM
Usagi336 wrote:
I feel the same but in this society we live in today, if you bring your son in to the police in that condition, you'll be promptly arrested.
on April 12,2013 | 09:37AM
Trainwreck wrote:
If they choose to act like criminal adults then they should be charged as criminal adults.
on April 12,2013 | 09:08AM
Bully wrote:
Parents: Protect you children.
on April 12,2013 | 09:52AM
Compassionate_Cat wrote:
Sexual bullying, battery, psychological abuse...girls and women are victimized most commonly but boys unfortunately are also victims. The perpetrators need to be investigated for protecting family members who may have abused THEM as well. Not all perpetrators are victims but many are and witness this only to carry out later when in need of "power and control" in their lives. We really must, as a society, expect human beings to exert self control either through intelligence or spiritual beliefs. Humans that allow themselves to behave like animals should be treated like animals, put them in a zoo where people can observe them as the animals they are.
on April 12,2013 | 09:56AM
DABLACK wrote:
Put the boys in with the general population at the jail....inform on what they did. Let the inmates do our wishes !!
on April 12,2013 | 10:04AM
geralddeheer wrote:
And what good will come out of that?
on April 12,2013 | 10:22AM
cojef wrote:
Prime example of teen-age drinking resulting unwarranted sexual behaviors and the unnecessary suicide of a young female student. The audacity of the male teens to post their dastardly deeds on twitter, indicate their utter disregard for this young female teen's privacy, as well the unspeakable acts they perpetrated upon her. Who is at fault, society for allowing behaviors of this nature to occur. The posted incident is evidence that these individuals have engaged in a "gang rape" of this young female teen, pure and simple. Throw book at them.
on April 12,2013 | 11:03AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Folks, please warn your children that DUIs aren't the only possible negative outcome when they drink. My heart breaks for this girl's family.
on April 12,2013 | 11:35AM
pakeheat wrote:
"The apple does not fall far from the tree", as they say
on April 12,2013 | 11:46AM
TLehel wrote:
What I believe in all of these type of drinking scenarios is that BECAUSE there are people like this who assault girls at parties when they drink too much, they should not put themselves into a situation of vulnerability. It's definitely not the fault of the girl that these guys are sick and twisted, or that other people just let this happen somehow. And of course no girl, especially at a young age, would think that this sort of thing would happen to them. It's unfortunate too because their party life is hidden from their parents, so they have no chance to really be warned of such things. Girls need to be made aware of the risk of partying. Because no matter how hard we crack down on rape and sexual assault in general, there will always be sick people who are going to do it. You can't control the percentage that can't be reasoned with, so counter it with responsibility.
on April 12,2013 | 12:23PM
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