Assault Suspects Face Wrongful Death Suit
Written by Faith Anderson on April 15, 2013
Defense Lawyers Attempting to Blame the Victim
According to police, Pott was assaulted by classmates while she was passed out at a house party near San Jose, California. A little over a week after the incident, Pott learned that photos had been taken of the alleged assault and were shared on social media sites. After making this discovery, Pott wrote on Facebook that her life was “ruined” and that she was having the “Worst day ever,” shortly before hanging herself. “There is no doubt that the combination of the assault and the torture by cyberbullying caused Audrie to end her life,” said Allard last week. However, the defense lawyers representing the three 16-year-old boys accused of the assault are, as Allard puts it, using a “blame the dead victim defense.”
Accused Facing Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
After conducting an extensive investigation on behalf of the Pott family, Allard asserted that “there is no doubt in our minds that the victim, then only 15 years old, was savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students while she lay on a bed completely unconscious.” According to Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jose Cardoza, the suspects were booked into juvenile hall and currently face two felonies and one misdemeanor each, all related to sexual battery. “The family has been trying to understand why their loving daughter would have taken her life at such a young age and to make sure that those responsible would be held accountable.” said Allard.
Defense Denies Connection Between Assault and Suicide
For their part, the defense attorneys for the accused teens are attempting to shed doubt on the credibility of the victim’s family. “Much of what has been reported over the last several days is inaccurate,” they said in a statement recently. “Most disturbing is the attempt to link [Audrie’s] suicide to the specific actions of these three boys.” According to Allard, the Pott family was particularly distressed by this statement, which their attorney says “sent them over the edge” and precipitated their decision to file the wrongful death suit against the three suspects, whose names have not been released because they are minors. The teens were arrested at their schools on April 11, and were charged with sexual battery against Audrie Pott. Allard plans to file the official wrongful death complaint on April 15.