SAN JOSE (AP) — One of three teenagers who admitted that they sexually assaulted a 15-year-old Northern California girl who later committed suicide has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by her parents.
In 2012, Audrie Pott fell asleep after drinking Gatorade laced with alcohol at a friend’s party in their hometown of Saratoga. She awoke to find her pants off and lewd comments scribbled over her body.
Her family says she hanged herself days later after learning cellphone photos were taken of her during the assault and shared through text messages.
Three of Audrie’s teenage classmates were prosecuted in private juvenile proceedings and sentenced to between 30 and 45 days in juvenile hall. Two continue to attend Saratoga High, while the third transferred to high school about an hour south in Gilroy.
Audrie’s parents, Lawrence and Sheila Pott, filed a civil lawsuit against the boys to hold them more accountable for their actions. Their attorney, Bob Allard, said the parents decided to settle with one of the teens because he showed remorse and “told the truth” about what happened to Audrie.
“He’s accepted responsibility. He’s told us the truth of what happened in that room. The others have not,” Allard said. “They’re still standing by their claim that Audrie was awake and consented to their acts.”
Allard said that had the two other teens apologized, they might not have been sued.
“If they had simply knocked on the door of the Pott household, apologized, accepted responsibility and jumped headfirst into our quest to educate our youth by, for example, speaking at high schools about the mistakes they made and how this can be prevented, there would be no civil lawsuit,” Allard said.
Audrie’s parents led the campaign to pass a California law which allows prosecutors to seek harsher sentences for juvenile sex offenders who take pictures of their crimes and use them to bully the victims.