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US suicide teen's parents sue alleged sex attackers

April 16, 2013

—Photo (File) AFP
—Photo (File) AFP

LOS ANGELES: The family of a 15-year-old US girl who killed herself after she was sexually assaulted while drunk are suing three teenage boys accused of the attack and sharing a photo of it at their school.

In the latest such case, Audrie Pott committed suicide last September eight days after the alleged attack in which she was assaulted by three male school friends after going to sleep at a party.

They had taken a photograph of the alleged assault, which was shared among friends at Saratoga High School, a lawyer for the family said at a press conference with her mother Sheila.

“After consuming alcohol ... she went to a bed to go to sleep, hoping to wake up the next day and go to school and start the school year. Instead she woke up to an absolute nightmare,” said attorney Robert Allard.

“The sexual assault was one thing ...and then to be publicly humiliated and disgraced in front of the whole school student body, that was too much for this young girl to take,” he added, announcing a wrongful death civil lawsuit.

He added: “We intend to prove ... that their action not only for the sexual assault, but … the despicable horrific, traumatic, defaming and savage actions they did in the next seven days, broke her. She couldn't handle it. And she did the worst thing a parent could ever imagine ... she ended her life.”

Her mother said: “These boys distributed the picture to humiliate and bully my daughter. They were her friends. This breach of trust would be difficult for an adult to handle, let alone a young girl.”

The case is the latest in North America involving a mix of teenage sexual assault and shared photos or videos.

Last month two US teenagers were found guilty of raping a fellow high school student - a case made notorious when a video of boys laughing about the assault on the “dead” drunk girl went viral.

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, both high school football players in the small Ohio town of Steubenville, were found to be “delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt” on all counts.

In Canada, several hundred people, including the provincial premier, attended the funeral last weekend of a teen who committed suicide after facing cyber bullying over her alleged rape.

The death of Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, has provoked outrage in Canada and abroad, and police announced Friday they were reopening their investigation into the alleged sexual assault two years ago.