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November 23, 2014

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Reports: 3 boys assaulted girl before her suicide

SARATOGA, Calif. — Three teenage boys have admitted to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old Northern California girl who later committed suicide after photographs of the attack were circulated to classmates, according to published reports.

The San Jose Mercury News first reported the case, soon followed by the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday.

In September, two 16-year-old boys admitted in Santa Clara County Juvenile Court to participating in the sexual assault and possessing photos of the girl, Audrie Pott, the newspapers reported, citing documents and other sources. Both crimes are felonies.

In addition, a 17-year-old boy admitted to the same two felonies, the papers said.

The boys' names have not been released, but two have been ordered to serve 30 days —during weekends— in juvenile detention, and the third was sentenced to 45 consecutive days. That is in stark contrast to the maximum 10-year sentence they might have received as adults.

Their sentences are also more lenient than those imposed on two 16-year-olds in Steubenville, Ohio, who received one and two years in juvenile detention, respectively, in a case that has been widely compared to the Pott case.

Audrie Potts hanged herself on Sept. 10, 2012, eight days after attending a party at a friend's house in Saratoga, Calif. After drinking Gatorade laced with alcohol, she fell asleep and later woke with her pants off and with lewd comments scribbled all over her body.

In the week following the party, Audrie learned that cellphone photos had been taken of her during the assault and shared through text messages, her family said.

The three defendants have been sued by Audrie's parents, Lawrence and Sheila Pott.

"We cannot publicly comment on any aspect of any criminal proceedings involving these young men," their lawyer, Robert Allard, said in a statement Tuesday.

Christopher Arriola, Santa Clara County's supervising deputy district attorney for juvenile justice, said he was also prohibited from commenting on the case.

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