3 in assault case, suicide appear in court

2013-04-17 13:09
Larry Pott, father of Audrie Pott who committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted, answers questions as Sheila Pott, left, Audrie's mother, looks on during a news conference. (Eric Risberg, AP)

Larry Pott, father of Audrie Pott who committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted, answers questions as Sheila Pott, left, Audrie's mother, looks on during a news conference. (Eric Risberg, AP)

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San Jose — Three teens facing charges in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old Northern California girl who committed suicide after the attack appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday.

The proceedings were not public, and lawyers involved in the case declined to comment.

The three 16-year-old boys are each charged with sexual battery, dissemination of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Attorneys and family members of the defendants were seen entering juvenile court, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Relatives of Audrie Pott, who hanged herself after a humiliating photo of her on the night of the attack circulated online, were also there.

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 on Tuesday after the hearing, but no statement was issued and Geffon did not return calls seeking comment.

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Jaron Shipp said he couldn't comment or provide any information on the case because the boys are juveniles.

No action on bullying concerns

Meanwhile, Robert Allard, an attorney for Audrie's family, announced on 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 10 September 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 on Tuesday seeking comment was not immediately returned.

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