In an emotional press conference on Monday, Lisa Pott, whose stepdaughter Audrie killed herself last fall after allegedly being raped, read a series of Audrie’s Facebook messages sent shortly before her suicide: “My life is ruined. I can’t do anything to fix it. I just want this to go away. My life is over. The people I thought I could trust f-ed me over and then tried to lie to cover it up. I have a reputation for a night I don’t even remember and the whole school knows.”
Pott’s parents are still trying to piece together what events led to the 15-year-old girl’s rape and suicide. Three 16-year-old boys were arrested last week for allegedly gang raping the 15-year-old girl at a party and texting photos of the crime to friends. According to newly released police reports, the boys also wrote humiliating messages all over Pott’s body because they thought it was funny:
The sheriff’s report also describes writing on her breast that “(blank) was here” — referring to another boy at the party who was not in the bedroom — and the drawing of arrows and circles and other scribbles all over her body and close to her genitalia. [...]
A witness told investigators that Audrie “was scared because someone had put her in a room and took off her clothes, leaving her underwear on.” One of the suspects told an investigator he thought it had been funny to draw all over Audrie, the sheriff’s report says.
The court documents highlight the difficulty investigators had in convincing students who were at the party — and their parents — to tell the truth. One girl told investigators, “I just don’t want to throw anyone under the bus.”
Audrie’s father, Larry Pott, implored students to come forward and “do the right thing” to get to the truth of what happened and why and who knew.
At the time of the alleged assault, all four students attended Saratoga High School in California together. Pott’s Facebook messages also revealed she did not know why she had woken up with her pants off, and believed the boys had sent the photo of her assault to the entire school. The boys will face a juvenile court on charges of misdemeanor sexual battery, felony distribution of child pornography and felony forcible sexual penetration. Pott’s parents also plan to sue them in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Santa Clara County police are especially being scrutinized in the Pott case in light of their failure to file charges in another sexual assault against an intoxicated teenage girl in San Jose in 2007. Several members of the De Anza College baseball team were accused of gang rape, but the district attorney claimed the heavy drinking at the party would make the charges difficult to prove. Defense attorneys asserted the 17-year-old girl led the boys into a room and demanded group sex. However, three female soccer players said they rescued the girl from the attack and brought her to the hospital. All ten defendants were either dropped from the case, settled out of court, or found not liable.
The revelation of Audrie Pott’s possible assault came on the heels of public outrage over the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons after she was gang-raped by four boys who disseminated of photos of her assault. Parsons’ school was aware of the incident but chose not to look into it. The recent string of stories of high school girls who were assaulted and mocked for it by their peers suggests Pott’s parents will unearth many more community failures behind their daughter’s suicide.