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Calif. family speaks out after daughter's suicide

SARATOGA, Calif. — The attorney for the parents of a Saratoga girl who killed herself after photos of her alleged sexual assault were texted to classmates said Monday that she was already vulnerable from previous bullying and that the boys who allegedly assaulted her drew taunting words on her body during the attack.

Audrie Pott, 15, hanged herself Sept. 10 in a bathroom at her mother's house, eight days after she went to a party at a friend's house in Saratoga with 12 other students. After drinking alcohol-laced Gatorade, she fell asleep and woke up without her shorts on and with mocking words written in several places on her body, said her parents' attorney, Robert Allard.

Pott's father, Lawrence Pott, and her mother, Sheila Pott, filed a wrongful death lawsuit suit Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court against the three boys arrested Thursday in connection with her death.

They said the suit was just one part of their effort to get state law changed to crack down on cyberbullying and sex assault by minors.

The boys were arrested on suspicion of two felonies and one misdemeanor each. The charges allege penetration with a foreign object, possession of child pornography and sexual assault, sources said. Police are releasing few details, including the suspects' names, because the case involves minors.

"There is absolutely no doubt as to the reason Audrie took her life — the three people who were arrested are responsible for her death," the girl's stepmother, Lisa Pott, said at a news conference Monday held by the family.

The suit also named Sheila and Michael Penuen, saying they own the house where the party took place. Allard said that the party was unsupervised and that the teens had access to the house's liquor cabinet.

The Pott family said it hopes the suit gives them the ability to investigate the incident independent of authorities' efforts. The suit asks for general damages, funeral costs, hospital costs and other fees.

Allard and the family used the news conference Monday to add more details to the story of their daughter's assault and death, which they chose to publicize — using their daughter's full name — in the hope of addressing cyberbullying and sexual assault among teens.

The three boys arrested were friends of the victim, Allard said.

Calif. family speaks out after daughter's suicide 04/15/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 15, 2013 11:14pm]
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