A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Monday afternoon against three boys accused of sexually assaulting Saratoga suicide victim Audrie Pott and the owners of the home where the alleged crime occurred.
In the complaint, Audrie's parents, Sheila and Lawrence Pott, accuse the teens, 16 year old, and the homeowners, Michael and Sheila Penuen, of negligence, inflicting emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy, and seeks damages in excess of $25,000.
The boys' attorneys, Eric Geffon, Alan Lagod and Bejamin Williams have not answered several emails and phone calls seeking comment. On Tuesday morning, Lagod said in a brief phone conversation with Saratoga Patch that they would not be commenting on the allegations of the suit at this time.
In the lawsuit, the family's attorney, Robert Allard, writes that 15-year-old Audrie was a beautiful, vibrant young girl who was "subjected to atrocities committed by her classmates and then subjected to humiliation and shame through bullying on her high school campus.
"Her suffering was so severe, that she found her only escape from the torment was through her death."
Audrie attempted suicide Sept. 10, 2012 at Sheila Pott's home in Los Altos and was hospitalized, but died two days later.
According to the suit, the minors must be appointed a guardian to answer to the suit's allegations.
The Penuens own the Elva Avenue home in Saratoga where Allard and the Potts maintain Audrie became so intoxicated after a night of drinking hard liquor with Gatorade that she passed out and was sexually assaulted by the boys during Labor Day weekend Sept. 2, 2012.
According to the lawsuit, Audrie was invited by the Penuens' minor daughter to be a house guest at the party while the parents were out of town during the holiday. The parents purportedly believed that their minor daughter would be a house guest at Audrie's home, but never consulted with the Potts as to the veracity of the story before leaving the premises for their teenage daughter.
"Said defendants knew or reasonably should have known that their daughter would host a party over the holiday weekend. Said defendants left their daughter and her guests full and unfettered access to alcoholic beverages maintained in an unlocked cabinet," the suit states.
When Audrie awoke on Sept. 3, she discovered that her shorts were off and that she had writings or drawings on her body, including near her intimate parts, the suit states.
A week after the party, Audrie discovered that the boys had taken photographs of her while she was intoxicated, depicting her and the drawings on her body, and that the photos were taken with one of the boy's phones.
One or more photographs were publicized to other students at SHS in person or via electronic means including - but not limited to - text messages, the suit continues.
The boys also publicized details of the party, including "the horrible and embarrassing events perpetrated upon and/or involving Audrie, to other students at SHS."
"Suffering acute embarrassment, shame, humiliation, etc. arising out of the incidents occurring at the party, the sharing of the photographs, the sharing of the details of the incidents occurring at the party, and /or bullying, Audrie took action to end her own life on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, necessitating hospitalization. Audrie died on Sept. 12, 2012," the suit reads.
The suit states that the boys' parents should have known the boys' propensities and should have taken steps to protect others, including Audrie, from such conduct.
The suit claims that due to the defendants' negligence, the Potts were deprived of the love and companionship of their daughter, had to employ physicians to care for her after the suicide attempt, incurred expenses for a funeral and burial, and that Sheila Pott has sought medical and psychological treatment and counseling for the "severe emotional distress sustained in finding her daughter's limp body and ensuing efforts to revive her ..."
To read the entire wrongful death suit, please see attached PDF.