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A Northern California sheriff's department announced the arrests of three teen boys on charges of sexual battery in connection with the suicide of 15-year-old Audrie Pott.
Last year, Pott claimed that she was sexually battered by several classmates while she was passed out at a house party. Her alleged attackers took photos of the assault and posted it on the Internet, reports The Associated Press.
Just eight days after the incident, Pott said that she was humiliated by the photos and said her life was ruined. She then hanged herself. Now this week, three 16-year-old boys allegedly involved in the attack were charged with sexual battery following a police investigation.
The AP states the family has permitted Pott's name and photo to be used.
Pott's family attorney says that as Pott lay on a bed completely unconscious at a house party, she was "savagely assaulted by her fellow high school students," reports the AP. The attackers then used their cell phones to share photos of the attack, and the images went viral.
The three teen defendants were booked into juvenile hall and face two felonies and one misdemeanor charge each, all related to sexual battery. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests may follow.
Given the age of the alleged attackers, they may avoid going to an adult prison for the offense. While prosecutors may seek adult charges for defendants as young as 14 in the State of California, they typically reserve adult charges for very serious charges such as murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
Rape and sexual battery may qualify as a serious offense that prosecutors may seek adult penalties, but so far there has been no indication that the three boys arrested for the sexual battery of Audrie Pott will face adult charges.
As a result, they may be ordered to serve time in a juvenile facility if they are convicted of the offense.