Audrie Pott: Lawsuit Over Teen Who Took Own Life After Rape Could Change How Rapists Are Punished

Audrie Pott was a 15-year-old girl who took her own life in September of 2012 after she was raped while unconscious by three high school boys in Saratoga, California. They also wrote degrading slogans in pen on her body, took pictures, and shared at least one of the cruel and inhuman photos on social media.

Believing that the boys received sentences that amounted to little more than “Saturday detention,” Sheila and Larry Pott sued the families of the boys for wrongful death — though they knew that their own lives and character would come under personal attack as a result of the lawsuit.

They were right. Lawyers for the three boys — who have not been named publicly because they were minors when they carried out the sexual assault and subsequent humiliation of Audrie Pott, though they are 18 today — attacked Audrie’s parents, who are divorced, attempting to shift blame for the girl’s suicide onto her own family rather than on the teen boys who admitted to sexually abusing her and who appeared not even to be sorry.

The boys were sentenced to jail terms of just 30 and 45 days.

But last week, the Potts settled the lawsuit, winning $950,000 from the three families, cash that will largely be paid by the homeowners insurance policies held by the families. But the parents of Audrie Potts say that the money is not the most important part of the settlement.

The really important terms of the agreement, the terms that if adopted by others in similar situations could change the way rapists are treated in the legal system, do not involve money, but the behavior of the three boys going forward.

Initially, the boys denied the allegations against them — even claiming that Audrie, who had passed out from alcohol consumption, led them on. But the lawsuit required them to admit that they actually raped the defenseless teen girl and that she did nothing to cause her own sexual assault.

Two of the boys made that apology in court in front of a judge, as the settlement required, last week. They also apologized for creating “false rumors” about Audrie that caused her “shame” and “humiliated her.”

The teen rapists must also write an apology, which will then be published. That apology must also discuss the pain and suffering caused not only by rape, but by cyberbullying and the attempt to blame victims for their own rapes.

They must also take part in school presentations and even a filmed documentary about sexual assault and cyberbullying, stressing the often unendurable pain those crimes cause to their victims.

Finally, the boys must also support the awarding of an honorary high school diploma to Audrie Pott, who will never have the chance to earn a real one.

[Image: Facebook via Daily Mail]