Three teens arrested for actions leading to 15-year-old’s suicide

Audrie Pott (Family photo provided by attorney Robert Allard)

Audrie Pott (Family photo provided by attorney Robert Allard)

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, whose gentle smile, long dark hair and shining eyes did not bely a struggling soul.

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 ongoing, 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 (audriepottfoundation.com) 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 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 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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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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4 Responses to "Three teens arrested for actions leading to 15-year-old’s suicide"

  1. Sandy Price  April 12, 2013 at 11:09 am

    A tragedy like this really hits home with me as I had two bright and beautiful girls who attended Berkeley and Santa Cruz 300 miles from home. I cannot say whether I would have beaten those boys nearly to death had that girl been one of mine. My granddaughter did not attend any of the University of California schools. While one of my girls was here visiting her husband found out that a couple of boys kicked a neighbor’s cat nearly to death on their front porch. They now have video coverage all around their home.

    Where does this violence come from?

  2. woody188  April 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Similar event happened in the small town I live near. Hailey Petee was only 11 years old and the claims are she was bullied by both students, parents, and even teachers at her school and at home in her own neighborhood. I’m worried as some of these suicides involve kids on ADHD medications and have to wonder does a connection exist despite the denials from the pharmaceutical companies. Especially Hailey, being only 11, it’s just so sad.

  3. Sandy Price  April 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Gosh Woody, you could be right. My youngest girl was rather slow in learning and my doctor wanted to have her tested at UCLA for Autism. I chose not to go that route and we started piano and dancing classes. She caught up after third grade and was pushed ahead in fourth grade. We figured she was quietly rehearsing and would kick in in her own sweet time.

    I just don’t understand why classmates and some parents can be so damn mean.

  4. scallywag  April 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    One is inclined to wonder why nothing was done after the girl experienced such a traumatic assault neither by school authorities or local police? In many ways the lack of action and the complicit bullying that followed suggests an apathetic attitude towards young girls who increasingly are viewed as sexual commodities to be had with. Whilst onthe other hand perpetrators are vindicated as only doing what boys ought to be doing in the first place..

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/04/audrie-pott-suicide-leads-to-arrest-of-three-teens-unspeakable-acts/

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