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Audrie Pott's Suicide Update: Family Sues Alleged Attackers; Lawyer Details Assault

( [email protected] ) Apr 15, 2013 03:05 PM EDT
San Jose, Calif. - Audrie Pott's family files a wrongful death lawsuit today against the three boys who allegedly sexually-assaulted their daughter days before she took her own life. Family lawyer gives details of the assault based on the photo evidences.
Larry Pott, father of Audrie Pott, who committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted, reads a statement at a news conference in San Jose. Audrie's mother, Sheila Pott, is at left. Eric Risberg / Associated Press / April 15, 2013

San Jose, Calif. - Audrie Pott's family files a wrongful death lawsuit today against the three boys who allegedly sexually-assaulted their daughter days before she took her own life. Family lawyer gives details of the assault based on the photo evidences.

The family lawyer Robert Allard said Monday at a press conference held Monday morning that "some markings on her body in some sort of permanent marker indicating that someone had violated her when she was sleeping."

"The name of someone that said, 'Blank was here,' was written in marker on her leg. And there were other markings as well. They drew on her, in addition to doing what they did," said Allard.

“Everyone knows about the night. My life is ruined,” Audrie’s step-mother, Lisa Pott, quoted what Audrie wrote on her Facebook page in the days following the alleged assault.

“I cried when I found out what they did,” Audrie’s step-mom further quoted. Lisa Pott told gathered reporters that the family had been advised not to view the photo.

"If this could happen to my daughter, this could happen to anyone," Sheila Pott, Audrie's mom, said at the Monday news conference. She said that her daughter was a joy to everyone and these boys were her friends since middle school.

“We are asking that this case be escalated to adult court,” she said, adding that Audrie “didn’t reach out to an adult who knew how to handle the gravity of the situation.”

Sheila Pott speaks in public for the first time about the tragic death of her daughter, Audrie Pott, at a news conference in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, April 15, 2013. At right is Audrie's stepmother Lisa Pott, and father Larry Pott. Saratoga High School student.(Bay Area News Group)

Last Thursday, three teen boys were arrested and charged with sexual battery for allegedly assaulting Pott at an unsupervised sleepover party, where alcohol was available, held September on Labor Day Sunday. Pott later passed out from drinking too much and went upstairs to sleep, according to Allard. Pott woke up to the “worst nightmare possible,” knowing that something terrible had happened. She later found that she had been assaulted by her “friends” and photos taken of her were being passed around among her peers. Ten days after the assault, she hanged herself in the bathroom.

Audrie’s father Larry Pott said that when the family decided to come forward with his daughter's name and story, they did it because "we hoped that in some small way Audrie's story and death could help others. Help this epidemic of sexual assault, distributing photos and cyberbullying to stop."

Robert Allard, the family’s lawyer, said that to be publicly humiliated and disgraced was too much for this young girl. On behalf of the Pott’s family, he will be filing a wrongful death cause of action tomorrow in court against the boys.

The parents who own the home will be named in the wrongful death lawsuit, he said.

Allard said Pott family will attend juvenile detention hearing tomorrow when it will be determined if the boys will be released. They want the boys to remain in custody.

Last Friday, the Pott family said on their Facebook page that they "suspect that the boys who we believe are responsible for Audrie’s death took deliberate steps to destroy evidence and interfere with the police investigation."

Allard said they were “over the edge” when they heard the statement issued by the attorneys for the three teens, which called recent reports "inaccurate" and tried to distant their client from Audrie's suicide. “Most disturbing is the attempt to link (Audrie’s) suicide to the specific actions of these three boys."

Larry Pott responded, “With no assault and no cyberbullying, Audrie’s in art class right now.”

In the news coverage last week, it has been widely reported that Audrie’s belief was true that the “whole school knew.”

Allard said after the party, at least one photo of the assault was distributed by the boys in person or via text messages. At school, Audrie saw groups of students looking at cell phones. Family members said the entire football team knew.

“The student newspaper reported that 10 kids had seen the photo, we’d like to talk to those kids,” said Audrie’s father. “These kids are good kids, but they are sacred.”

Larry Pott urged students to “do the right thing” and tell authorities what they know about what happened. Allard also urged parents whose children may know anything about the photo or photos taken of Audrie to come forward.

This Friday night, a candlelight vigil will be held for the late-Audrie Pott at 8 p.m. at Saratoga High School in Saratoga, Calif.

(Bay Area News Group)