Three teenage males have confessed to a sexual assault on a teenage girl from Northern California who would later kill herself after pictures of the assault were shown to several classmates. This information came from published reports found first in the San Jose Mercury News and later in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Last September, two teenage boys admitted to a Santa Clara Juvenile judge that they participated in the sexual assault and also had pictures of the girl, Audrie Pott. Both crimes are considered to be felonies. Another 17 year old boy, in addition, confessed to the same crimes.
Although none of their names have been released to the public, two of them have been given a thirty day sentence. The sentence will be served on the weekends in a juvenile detention center. The other boy has received a 45 day sentence to be served consecutively. In contrast, the sentence for such a crime in an adult court would carry a maximum sentence of ten years. In a case that has been compared by many to the Potts Case, two teenagers received one and two year sentences in a similar case in Steubenville, Ohio.
Audrie Pott committed suicide on September 10, 2012 by hanging herself. Her death came just eight days after being at a party at the house of a friend in Saratoga, California. Pott had been drinking an alcohol laced Gatorade which caused her to fall asleep. When she awoke, her pants and been removed and sexually suggestive comments were written all over her body.In the days that followed that party, Pott would learn that pictures of her had been taken during the attack and shared with a wide range of students, according to her family.
Lawrence and Sheila Pott, Audrie’s parents, have filed a lawsuit on all three males who confessed to the assault on their teenage daughter. Their lawyer, Robert Allard, said that at the time, the family would not be commenting on the criminal proceedings of the three young men. Allard said the parents strongly disagreed with the leniency of the privacy laws given to juveniles, even in the commitment of obviously horrible acts such as a sexual assault on an unconscious teenager.
Additionally, Allard also said in a statement issued last week that two of the accused males had in their possession some pornographic photographs of another teenage female besides Audrie. News of these photographs surfaced after Pott had hung herself but before the boys were taken into custody.
Allard said it was obvious that the boys had not learned from their previous crimes. Rather, they had continued to exploit young teenage girls by making their nude pictures available to others.
Christopher Arriola, a representative of the District Attorney’s office for Santa Clara County, said that the office is teaming up with lawmakers to allow more cases of juvenile related justice to be open to the public. Arriola said that a crime of sexual assault is an offense that a parent would want to know about and unfortunately, the law does not currently allow for that to happen.
Seth Flagsberg, a criminal defense lawyer, who has done some work for the Innocence Project of Santa Clara University acknowledged that to protect the identities of the three teenage boys who confessed to the assault on the teenage girl and make information public at the same time could be a tough balance. He said that he was not sure it could really be balanced out.
By Rick Hope