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Saratoga Suicide Victim’s Family Files Claim Against School District

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Audrie Pott (Audrie Pott Foundation)

Audrie Pott (Audrie Pott Foundation)

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The family of Audrie Pott, the 15-year-old Saratoga High School student who committed suicide last fall, days after she was allegedly sexually assaulted at a party, has filed a claim against the school district.

The family’s attorney, Robert Allard, said in a statement that the family filed the claim against the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District “primarily to preserve the family’s rights to future legal action.”

The Pott family is alleging that Audrie was bullied at the school months before her death, and that the school district was negligent because it failed to act when the family reported the bullying in the spring of 2012, Allard said.

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The family claims administrators at Saratoga High School, where Audrie was a sophomore, did not document a meeting at which her family reported the alleged bullying.

Allard also said administrators announced her death by suicide on a school loudspeaker before some family members knew of her passing, and later denied that bullying played a role in her death.

According to the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, the school also failed to expel three boys suspected of sexually assaulting Audrie while she lay unconscious at a party on Sept. 2.

“We will continue to investigate the potential liability of the District for the death of Audrie and if we gather sufficient evidence we will be filing a claim in Superior Court,” Allard said.

“It is becoming increasingly apparent to us that, sadly, the District has repeatedly placed the interests of Audrie and her family well behind its own,” he said.

A spokeswoman for district Superintendent Bob Mistele said Wednesday morning that he had no comment but would release a statement later Wednesday.

Audrie attempted suicide at her Saratoga home on Sept. 10 and died two days later.

The three teens were arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexual battery and other charges stemming from the alleged attack, and appeared at a detention hearing Tuesday in Juvenile Justice Court in San Jose, although details of the case have not been released.

Audrie’s family claims the boys sexually assaulted her and wrote messages on her body while she was unconscious at the Sept. 2 party, then took photos of her that they later distributed to students at the high school.

The family filed a wrongful death suit Monday against the three boys; two adults who owned the Saratoga home where Audrie was allegedly assaulted; and dozens of other unnamed individuals.

That suit is asking for damages in excess of $25,000 from the three juveniles and other defendants for defamation, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.

The suit also alleged that the two adults were negligent by allowing their teen daughter, a friend of Audrie’s, to host the party where Audrie and other minor guests had access to liquor.

Audrie and about a dozen other teens at the party drank alcohol mixed with Gatorade, and Audrie eventually became unconscious in a bedroom before the alleged sexual assault happened, the family alleged.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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