SAN FRANCISCO – A new classmate has been implicated in the death of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after saying three boys sexually assaulted her and circulated photos of the abuse online.
Audrie Pott hanged herself in September, about a week after passing out drunk at a party at a friend's house in Northern California.
The 15-year-old said boys she had known for years took off her clothes and sexually assaulted her, including writing and drawing on intimate parts of her body and taking cellphone photos of their actions, according to authorities.
She tried to confront the boys accused of attacking her online, and posted her feelings about it on social media.
"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.
Audrie Pott's family recently added a 15-year-old girl to their lawsuit filed in April against the three boys and the adult couple where she said the assault took place on Sept. 2.
Attorney Robert Allard initially sued the boys and the adult couple in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleging battery, defamation, wrongful death and several other claims. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
The new defendant was added in June with the Pott family alleging the teenage girl was present in the room when the assault occurred and encouraged the boys "to expose and/or photograph and/or draw on Audrie's body," according to the amended lawsuit.
The girl, identified only as Jane C. because she is a minor, then buttoned and zipped Audrie Pott's shorts, covered her with a blanket and left her alone, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that Jane C. lied about her involvement to cover up the assault.
The boys are also identified only by their first names and an initial because of their ages. They have also been charged criminally with sexual battery, dissemination of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
The AP does not routinely identify victims of sexual assault. But in this case, Pott's family wanted her name and case known, Allard said. The family also provided a photo to the AP.
Days after the party, Audrie Pott saw a group of students at Saratoga High School huddled around a cellphone and realized that at least one humiliating photo of her was circulating, according to police reports.
The family and authorities say the assault occurred at the Saratoga home of Michael Penuen and Sheila Penuen, who left their teen daughter behind while they went out of town.
The Penuens' daughter, whom AP has not named, told her parents she was spending the night at Audrie Pott's home. Instead, several teens gathered at the Penuens' home and drank alcohol. A woman answering the Penuen's home phone Saturday declined comment and hung up. It is not clear whether the daughter is involved in the suit.
Eight days after the party, Audrie Pott 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. She later hanged herself in her home.