Settlement reached in Northern California teen suicide

AP News
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Posted: Apr 04, 2015 12:08 AM
Settlement reached in Northern California teen suicide

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Two teenagers who acknowledged they sexually assaulted a 15-year-old Northern California girl who later committed suicide settled a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by her parents Friday, averting a trial that was set to start next week.

The boys' families agreed to pay the family of Audrie Pott $950,000 and both teens are required to give 10 presentations at high schools or youth groups about the dangers spreading nude photos, and alcohol and drugs, according to a report by the San Jose Mercury News.

The teenagers also agreed to be interviewed in a documentary film already in production about the case and to verbally apologize to Pott's family.

"I wish Audrie was still here, and I miss her a lot," said one of the boys, who is now an 18-year-old senior at Saratoga High School, the Mercury News reported (http://bayareane.ws/1HuqsG9). "She was a great person who didn't deserve anything that happened to her due to my actions. I apologize. I wish I could make it right."

Lawyers for the Potts and the boys' families didn't immediately return phone calls seeking comment Friday.

The Pott family settled weeks ago with a third teen allegedly involved in the Sept. 2, 2012 assault.

Audrie hanged herself in September, about a week after passing out drunk at a party, where authorities say boys took off her clothes and sexually assaulted her.

The assault included writing and drawing on intimate parts of Audrie's body, according to authorities. Audrie's family has said she later saw a group of students at school huddled around a cellphone and realized that at least one humiliating photo of her was circulating.

Audrie discussed her feelings in social media postings.

"I have a reputation for a night I don't even remember and the whole school knows," she wrote in one Facebook message to a friend, according to her family.

"I cried when I found out what they did," she wrote in another.

The AP does not routinely identify victims of sexual assault. But in this case, Pott's family wanted her name and case known.

The boys are preparing to graduate from high school this spring. As part of the settlement, they promised to support a petition for Saratoga High to grant Audrie an honorary diploma. Their written apology made it clear "my actions contributed to preventing her from graduating."

Their apology also said that: "We would like every teenager out there to understand that words about someone's character can have a life-altering effect."