Three teenage boys were arrested at school today in connection with the alleged sexual assault in Saratoga last fall of a 15-year-old girl who later committed suicide, a sheriff’s spokesman said. Two of the boys were taken into custody this morning at Saratoga High School, and the third was arrested at Christopher High School in Gilroy, Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Kurtis Stenderup said.
All three were booked into Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. The boys, all age 16, were each arrested on suspicion of two counts of felony sexual battery and a misdemeanor — all related to the alleged assault, Stenderup said. The girl, Audrie Pott, a Saratoga High School sophomore, committed suicide after learning that a photo someone took of the assault was posted online, said Robert Allard, a San Jose attorney retained by her parents, who gave permission through him to release her name.
Stenderup said the sheriff’s office cannot share much about the case yet because the investigation is still open and it involves juveniles. “Our detectives are still actively writing search warrants,” Stenderup said. “I’m told this is far from being over.” Allard compared the case to a recent one in Steubenville, Ohio, where photos were circulated of an unconscious girl who was sexually assaulted by high school boys during a party.
Two boys were convicted of rape in that case in March. He said Audrie’s parents are seeking to sue about 10 people, including high school students and some parents, in connection with the assault. Allard alleged that at least three high school boys took part in multiple sexual acts on the drunken teen while she lay unconscious in the bedroom of the home of a friend whose parents where gone for the weekend last September.
The party at the Saratoga home was attended by eight to 10 high school students who consumed hard liquor mixed with Gatorade, Allard said. Someone took at least one photo of the unclothed girl as the alleged sexual attack took place, and the picture was shown to others, then sent by text and email and finally posted on Facebook, Allard said. “It went viral,” Allard said. “It was pervasively disseminated.
” The girl decided not to inform her parents about the sexual assault, but after learning that a photo had been distributed, she posted some messages on her Facebook page, he said. According to Allard, she wrote: “They took pictures of me. My life is ruined” and that it was “the worst day ever.” She told one friend about what occurred, and committed suicide in Los Altos eight days after the alleged assault, Allard said.
The family, which plans to hold a news conference in San Jose on Tuesday, would like to see Audrie’s name associated with legislation named after her that would seek to prevent cyber bullying, Allard said. “All the family wants to do is to honor Audrie and take steps legally and morally so that this never happens again,” he said.
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