Three teenage boys admitted to sexually assaulting and taking pictures of a 15-year-old girl who later killed herself, and they each got less than two months in juvenile detention for their crimes.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the boys — whose names have not been released — admitted to “digitally penetrating” 15-year-old Audrie Pott during a party and having photos of her. (Both crimes are felonies. In California, any penetration against somebody’s will is illegal.)
Two of the boys admitted to having photos of other girls as well.
Two of the teens have already finished serving 30-day sentences. They served their time on weekends, according to the San Jose Mercury News, which cited unnamed sources close to the case. The third boy is spending 45 consecutive days in juvenile detention.
The newspaper points out that if the boys were tried in adult court, they could have gotten up to 10 years in prison for their crimes.
California law makes it difficult for juveniles to be tried as adults, the Associated Press notes.
Juvenile justice expert Barry Krisberg told the Mercury News: “It’s what I call justice by geography. The juvenile court has wide disparities in the amount of penalties it connects to specific behaviours. … They’ve embraced the treatment and rehabilitation strategy, so this doesn’t completely surprise me.”
Eight days before she killed herself, Pott went to a party in Saratoga, Calif. with some friends. She woke up in a friend’s bedroom the next day after drinking too much at the party and realised that she had been sexually assaulted. There were also drawings on the intimate parts of her body.
Pott was reportedly unconscious during the assault.
Cases like Pott’s have brought attention to the issue of social media and sexual assaults.
Michigan State University psychology professor Rebecca Campbell told Business Insider in April that taking pictures of sexual assaults and posting them online is a way for attackers to “assert dominance and power to hurt the victim over and over again.”
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