Detention Hearing Held For Saratoga Teen Rape Suspects
SAN JOSE (CBS / AP / BCN) — Charges against three teen boys were heard in Santa Clara Juvenile Court Tuesday in connection with the alleged Sept. 2 sexual assault on a 15-year-old Saratoga girl who later committed suicide.
The biological parents and stepmother of the victim, Audrie Pott, arrived at the juvenile court with their lawyer Tuesday morning to attend the detention hearing held for the three unidentified boys, all age 16.
The juveniles, two from Saratoga High School and one from Christopher High School in Gilroy, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony sexual battery and a misdemeanor in the alleged assault on Audrie.
Audrie’s parents filed a lawsuit Monday in San Jose against the three suspects and others alleging the boys sexually assaulted Audrie while she lay unconscious during a party where alcohol was served at a home in Saratoga.
Larry and Sheila Pott claimed the teens assaulted Audrie digitally and with a foreign object and used a marker to draw messages on her partly nude body as she lay passed out from drinking alcohol.
The suit also alleged that two of the boys took photos of her almost naked body on one boy’s phone, showed the images in person and sent them by text to others at Saratoga High School.
The humiliation of the events drove Audrie to attempt to kill herself on Sept. 10 and led to her death in a hospital two days later, the suit claimed.
After the closed hearing, Deputy District Attorney Jaron Shipp met with reporters outside the juvenile courthouse in San Jose but said he could not comment about the hearing beyond describing the juvenile judicial process.
In cases of sexual assault while the victim was intoxicated and incapacitated, the district attorney’s office may argue before a juvenile court judge that a complaint should be filed against a juvenile defendant, Shipp said.
The probation department would then have up to 30 days to deliver a report about the fitness of a juvenile defendant to be charged in adult court and the district attorney then has 30 days to respond, Shipp said.
He could not say whether the three juvenile defendants were still in custody or released Tuesday.
Ed Vasquez, a spokesman for the Pott family attorney Robert Allard, said the family left the court Tuesday morning after the hearing and “would like to thank everyone throughout the world” for offering sympathy about Audrie.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which announced the arrests of the three teens last week, has declined to comment further because the boys are under 18 years old and the law protects details about their arrests from public disclosure.
Attorney Eric Geffon, who represents one of the three suspects, had previously told The Associated Press that attorneys representing all three boys would have a statement Tuesday after the hearing, but no statement was issued and Geffon did not return calls seeking comment.
Meanwhile, Allard announced Tuesday that they have filed a claim with the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District over what they say was negligence by school administrators in addressing bullying they say Audrie suffered while a student at Saratoga High School.
Filing a claim is a necessary step before a lawsuit can be filed against a public agency.
Allard claims school administrators did not act on bullying concerns brought up to the principal who preceded the school’s current principal, Paul Robinson, and that Robinson proclaimed that bullying was not the cause of Audrie’s Sept. 10 suicide despite having knowledge of the police investigation into the alleged assault.
“That caused a great deal of anxiety for the family,” Allard said. “From the mother’s perspective, it was extremely inappropriate and insensitive for the school to have announced to the student body Audrie’s passing before the family even understood that she had passed.”
A call to the school district late Tuesday seeking comment was not immediately returned.
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