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3 teens charged with assault; girl killed herself

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POSTED April 11, 2013 9:48 p.m.


SAN JOSE  (AP) — A Northern California sheriff's office on Thursday arrested three 16-year-old boys on accusations that they sexually battered 15-year-old Audrey Pott, who hanged herself eight days after the attack last fall.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Lt. Jose Cardoza said it arrested two of the teens at Saratoga High School and the third at Christopher High School in Gilroy.

The victim's family attorney Robert Allard said students shared photos of the attack on cellphones. Pott posted on Facebook that her life was "ruined" and that she was going through her "worst day ever" shortly before she commited suicide, Allard said.

"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."

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 identify juveniles who are accused of crimes. It also 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 girl's family members did not comment and have requested privacy until a planned news conference Tuesday. They 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 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.

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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