Teens accused of posting pictures of sexual assault

Teens accused of posting rape photos
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Story highlights

  • Three teenage boys were arrested Thursday; they face charges of sexual battery
  • The girl who allegedly was attacked took her own life last year
  • The boys are accused of sharing photos of the attack and posting them online

Three teenage California boys are facing charges of sexual battery in connection with the alleged rape of a girl who subsequently committed suicide, authorities said.

The incident happened at an unsupervised house party in Saratoga, California, in September, but the three 16-year-olds were arrested Thursday, said Santa Clara Sheriff's Office spokesman Jose Cardoza.

When evidence goes viral

The case is similar to one that played out in court this year in Steubenville, Ohio, where two star football players were convicted of rape for assaulting a girl who had too much to drink. Images in that case were posted on social media sites.

In the California case, Santa Clara County Sheriff's detectives say Audrie Pott had too much to drink at a party and passed out. That's when the boys are accused of attacking her.

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How to help and support young rape victims

The boys are accused of taking photos of the attack and sharing them at school, as well as texting them and posting them online.

After learning that photos had been posted on the Internet, the 15-year-old Potts wrote in an online post that her life was ruined. She took her own life a few days later.

"What happened to Audrie was tragic. It should never have happened," Lauren Cerri, the Pott family attorney, told CNN affiliate KGO. "She had no idea what occurred until she woke up the following morning and had some drawings on her body and in some private areas."

The three unidentified boys face two felony and one misdemeanor charge of sexual battery, Cardoza said. Formal charges will come next week.

Rape accusations, teens and Twitter attacks in another U.S. town

A fellow student told KGO that along with the shock of Pott's death was the chatter of who was involved and how they remained in school.

"That it took that long (for an arrest) was pretty ridiculous," Samir Ingle told KGO. "It was maybe half a year. I find that really, really disturbing."

In the Steubenville case, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl who had had too much to drink.

That trial that gained media attention for its lurid text messages, cell phone pictures and videos, and social media posts surrounding the sexual abuse of the girl.

Canadian rape victim's family: We want justice, not vigilante justice