CALIFORNIA—On March 20, one of three teenagers who confessed to sexually assaulting 15-year-old Audrie Pott resulting in her suicide settled a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the victim’s parents.
On September 4, 2012 Audrie attended a party in Saratoga at a friend’s house whose parents were out of town. Around 10 teenagers showed up and they got drunk on vodka mixed with Gatorade.
Audrie allegedly passed out, waking up to find lewd messages scrawled on her body. It is alleged that while asleep, three or more of the teenagers at the party raped her.
After learning that pictures of the assault had been taken and distributed via text messages and social media, Audrie hanged herself eight days later.
“My life is over, ” Audrie posted in private messages on Facebook before taking her life. “I have a reputation for a night I don’t even remember, and the whole school knows.”
After an investigation in 2013, three 16-year-old boys were arrested in northern California on suspicion of sexual battery.
In a juvenile court, the three teenage defendants admitted to the felonious charges of sexually assaulting and possessing photos of Audrie Pott. Two received 30-day sentences to be served at a juvenile detention center on weekends, while the other offender was sentenced to 45 consecutive days.
Audrie’s parents, Lawrence and Sheila Pott, describing the punishment as commensurate with a “weekend detention,” reportedly filed the civil lawsuit in order to hold the teens accountable, to bring attention to teenage sexual assault and to find out the truth about what happened that night to Audrie.
Robert Allard, a child molestation attorney representing the Pott family, explained that the family agreed to settle the lawsuit with one of the defendants because he accepted responsibility and told the truth, as opposed to the other two defendants who allegedly continue to maintain that Audrie was awake and consented to their acts.
Allard said that had the two other teens taken responsibility for their actions, they may not have been sued.