SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — An attorney for the parents of a girl who was sexually assaulted and later hanged herself said Monday the teen awoke from the attack with drawings and the name of one suspect scrawled on intimate parts of her body.
Attorney Robert Allard made the disclosure at an emotional news conference where he and the family of 15-year-old Audrie Pott announced their plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the three 16-year-old suspects, their parents and the family of a girl who hosted the Labor Day party where Pott was attacked.
Pott passed out at the Labor Day party after drinking alcohol mixed with Gatorade, the lawyer said.
Allard said the photos showed that enough of her clothing had been removed to put markings on her body.
"The suspects drew on Audrie during the assault," he said. "They drew on her, they left her a message."
Her family also said others at the party reported the boys responsible were sober when the assault happened, making their actions cold and calculated. Allard said the boys were friends of the victim.
Audrie Pott's father, mother and step-mother said they were outraged by what they see as a refusal to take responsibility by the three boys arrested in the attack in Saratoga, a bedroom community on the fringe of Silicon Valley.
Lawrence Pott, the girl's father, said he was astounded that defense lawyers for the three denied a link between the sharing of the humiliating photo and his daughter's decision to end her life.
The boys were arrested Thursday — eight months after Audrie Pott posted online that her life was ruined and then hanged herself.
"This period has been difficult for us because the wounds are so fresh," her father said. "We miss her every day, but now we must carry on and share her story so that this epidemic of sexual assault and cyberbullying amongst teens can be exposed and stopped."
Eric Geffon, who represents one of the suspected teens, said the boys were cited last fall but no formal charges were filed against them until Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies arrested two boys at Saratoga High School and a third, a former Saratoga High student, at Christopher High in Gilroy where he currently was a student.
As of Sunday night, all three boys were still being held in the Santa Clara County detention center.
Pott also had been a student at Saratoga High.
On the night she was assaulted, the intoxicated Pott went upstairs and fell asleep "and woke up to the worst nightmare imaginable," Allard said.
Over the next week, she pieced together who had sexually battered her and realized at least one humiliating photo was electronically being passed around the school.
"She was being consoled by other friends and they were concerned about her. One day she apparently felt that she couldn't cope with it anymore and poor Audrie was traumatized to the point where she ended her life," Allard said on Monday.
Geffon said much of what has been reported is incorrect, including the family's assertion that the boys were not cooperating with investigators. He added that the Santa Clara County sheriff's decision to arrest the boys just days prior to a civil lawsuit being filed seems "awfully coincidental."
Family spokesman Ed Vasquez said Audrie's family decided to speak out Monday to "raise awareness about teenage bullying, harassment, sexual assault, and the use of electronic media to disseminate images that humiliate and in this case drove their daughter to take her life."
Backed by a large banner signed with loving messages from dozens of classmates and friends, Allard said the suspects are responsible for the Audrie's decision to end her life. The family is adamant that the suspects be tried as adults, he said.
"They will apparently have you believe that what they did and what Audrie did was just a coincidence," Allard said, alluding to a statement from the boys' attorneys. "Frankly this sent us over the edge because it tells us that these boys and their families to this day refuse to accept responsibility."
Lisa Pott, the stepmother of Audrie, said the three suspects were removed from their high school football team after the teen committed suicide.
She said the principal took that action but didn't kick them out of school. The family had sought expulsion, saying the boys had been showing the photo on their cell phones.