Family of hanged girl dismayed by school's response

2013-04-18T00:00:00Z Family of hanged girl dismayed by school's responseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The attorney representing the family of Audrie Pott - the Northern California girl who hanged herself last fall after she was allegedly sexually abused by three boys - is disputing an explanation by a school superintendent of why the boys were not expelled from school.

Saratoga schools superintendent Bob Mistele said Wednesday the three teens suspected of assaulting 15-year-old Audrie Pott were at a party which was not on campus or related to school, so they could not be expelled.

Mistele said two of the three boys were kicked off the football team.

But attorney Robert Allard late Wednesday responded to the school district's statement, describing his reaction and that of the Pott family as "one of disgust and dismay."

The boys were charged in the fall but remained in school seven months until April 11, when sheriff's deputies took them out of their classrooms and arrested them on charges of sexual battery and distribution of child pornography. Attorneys representing the teens, whose names have not been released because of their ages, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

The Pott family filed a lawsuit against the boys and their families Monday, and has also filed a claim against the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District, alleging that administrators were slack in responding to bullying against Audrie, who committed suicide eight days after she was assaulted.

Her family's attorney said the three suspects took her upstairs to a bedroom during a Labor Day weekend party where she drank a combination of vodka and Gatorade and passed out. The boys assaulted her, drew and wrote on her, and took a photo of an intimate body part, said attorney Robert Allard.

Allard said the district failed to document a meeting the Pott family had with administrators about bullying several months before Audrie's death. And he said a school official announced her death on school loudspeakers before her family realized that the girl, who had spent two days on life support, had passed away.

In a written statement responding to questions from The Associated Press and other media, Mistele confirmed that administrators had met with the Pott family before her death, but he said "the issue of bullying was not the subject covered in those conversations."

He also said Audrie's stepmother, Lisa Pott, gave the principal permission to announce to the student body that she had died.

"It is a matter of policy and common decency that the school would never announce a student's death without first consulting with the family," he said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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