SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Awakening in a friend's bedroom after drinking too much at a sleepover, 15-year-old Audrie Pott looked down and realized she had been sexually assaulted and her attackers had written and drawn on intimate parts of her body, her family's attorney said Monday.
Over the next week, she pieced together one horrifying detail after another. She went online and tried to confront the three boys she had known since junior high who she believed had done it.
At school, she saw a group of students huddled around a cellphone and realized that at least one humiliating photo of her was circulating.
"I have a reputation for a night I don't even remember and the whole school knows," she wrote in one Facebook message to a friend.
"I cried when I found out what they did," she wrote in another.
Eight days after the attack, she called and asked her mother to pick her up at school. She said she couldn't deal with it anymore but would not say what was wrong.
And then she hanged herself.
The Pott family disclosed the new details of the ordeal at an emotional news conference Monday in San Jose, discussing painful details of what their daughter was put through and demanding that three 16-year-old boys arrested eight months after the assault be tried as adults — a move that would be highly unlikely under California law.
The family also filed a lawsuit Monday against the three suspects and their parents, claiming the boys removed Audrie's shorts and "digitally penetrated her, and/or penetrated her with a foreign object, and/or sexually abused her" after she drank alcohol and passed out.
The boys arrested in the case are each charged with sexual battery, dissemination of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Under California law, such less severe charges are filed if a victim was unconscious and did not have the ability to fight off a sexual assault.
Audrie's mother, Sheila Pott, said she hopes to change that with a new "Audrie's Law."
"I want to take serious steps to see that this doesn't happen to another one of our children," she said.
The parents of the friend where the party was held are also being sued by Audrie's family, with the suit claiming the parents of the friend had a "duty to prevent" parties from taking place at their home.
Sgt. Mike Leininger, a retired San Jose police detective hired by the family's attorney to investigate the case, said interviews of people at the party showed the suspects were sober at the time of the attack in Saratoga, a bedroom community on the fringe of Silicon Valley.
However, a police report obtained by the San Jose Mercury News said the suspects told authorities during the initial investigation that they did drink at the party.
The police report also says witnesses told investigators the three suspects took the drunken Audrie to sleep in an upstairs room then assaulted her.