California Teen 'Tortured' by Belief That Friends Sexually Assaulted Her Before Hanging Herself

Three teens arrested in connection to Audrie Pott's alleged sexual assault.

April 12, 2013, 4:08 PM

April 12, 2013— -- Audrie Pott, the 15-year-old California girl who killed herself after photos of her alleged sexual assault appeared online, felt "tortured" by the experience of being betrayed by suspects whom she once considered friends, the family's attorney, Robert Allard, said today.

"We have Audrie's words that reveal just how tortured she was," Allard told of her online comments.

"Over the week that followed, she was literally tortured by the knowledge that people she thought were her friends were passing around photos of what took place," he said of the allegations.

In the week after the alleged assault last Labor Day at a gathering at a friend's house, a humiliated Pott, according to Allard, posted messages on Facebook, saying, "My life is ruined."

Allard said Pott also posted, "This is the worst thing ever" and "Those guys put 'blank' inside of me," not providing details.

Three 16-year-old boys were arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexual battery in the assault on Pott while she was passed out at a party, according to the Associated Press.

Santa Clara County police have not responded to numerous requests for comment. Authorities have not publicly identified the boys because of their ages.

"Based upon the discussions with the police officers, at least one picture was disseminated extensively," Allard said. "There was enough within that to demonstrate that a sexual assault had occurred between multiple boys."

He added: "The guys were her friends. These were not strangers. She's known them for quite some time."

Pott attended the Labor Day weekend gathering at a friend's house, where as many as 10 to 15 kids were present, Allard said. Pott was one of the earlier guests and went upstairs to sleep under the influence of alcohol, Allard said. When she awoke, he said, Pott suspected that something "bad had happened."

Pott's mother was unaware of the alleged assault until after her daughter reportedly hanged herself, Allard said, when Pott's friends notified her mother that there was more to the story. She went to police after seeing Audrie's Facebook posts and phone messages about the alleged attack.

Her family has not commented but has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday, Allard said.

He said he believes the arrests took seven months because of the difficulty of gathering evidence.

"We have reason to believe the boys destroyed the evidence, at least one photograph, the messages, and the commentary, as much as possible," Allard said.

Two of the suspects were students at Saratoga High School, where Pott was a sophomore, and a third was a former Saratoga High student, according to the AP.

"We are cooperating with law enforcement as they continue to look into the details of this case," Bob Mistele, superintendent of Saratoga Union High School District, said in a statement. "Collaborating with our parents, students, staff and community we will continue to work diligently to maintain a positive climate at our high schools based on respect, responsibility, and open communication that discourages cyber bullying and inappropriate conduct."

Social media has played a major role in the past year in cases where sexual assault has been alleged. Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself last week after a photo of her allegedly being raped went viral.

With the recent arrests, Pott's family is somewhat relieved, the lawyer said.

"After seven months of watching these boys live their lives as if nothing happened, that brings Audrie's parents some relief," Allard said. "This is very, very raw for them and just another reminder that Audrie is not here."

Her parents eventually hope to develop Audrie's Law on cyberbullying that forces juveniles in the most heinous cases to be tried as adults.

"She was a beautiful, young little girl," Allard said. "This should never have happened."

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