A Kentucky girl who was horrified at what she felt was a light sentence handed down to the two boys who allegedly assaulted her at a party — an act she only learned about when she discovered there was photographic evidence of the alleged assault — will no longer face charges for contempt of court after she tweeted the names of the boys who are said to have assaulted her.
17-year-old Savannah Dietrich took the unusual step of revealing her identity after the case was wrapped up, with the full support of her parents. Dietrich diverged from the usual path taken by sexual assault victims in concealing her identity, in order to call out the boys she accused on Twitter when she learned the trial’s outcome.
In juvenile court during sentencing, a judge ordered that no one involved speak about the case or its outcome, and Dietrich said that the sentence received was, she believed, way too light. So later, she took to Twitter, naming the boys and adding:
“I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”
For this, the victim became the accused, facing criminal charges herself after deciding to publicly name her juvenile alleged abusers. But today, lawyers for the boys decided to stop pursuing the charge, and one attorney, David Mejia, explained:
“The horse is out of the barn,” he said. “Nothing is bringing it back.”
A petition on Change.org signed by outraged supporters of Dietrich garnered more than 60,000 signatures, and the woman who started it (not acquainted with Dietrich personally) explained that her horror at hearing of the teen’s ordeal prompted her to organize support:
“When I read it, I was appalled and outraged and thought, ‘Somebody has to do something about this. Who is going to do something about this?’” said Elizabeth Beier, 22, of Cockeysville, Md., who started the petition even though she doesn’t know Deitrich. “Everyone wants this girl to have peace and time to recover and not another trauma like jail time.”
Other victims’ rights organization noted that the accused boys were said to have shared the images of the assault on the internet, making the fact Dietrich was facing jail time for sharing their names akin to a second assault.