School officials, Audrie Pott's parents stand divided

April 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A dispute has emerged between school officials and the parents of Saratoga High student Audrie Pott. She killed herself just days after her family says she was sexually assaulted by classmates and then cyber-bullied. The sheriff investigating the incident explained why it took seven months to make arrests.

It took seven months before the arrest of the three suspects. Two of them were still enrolled at Saratoga High School and the third had transferred to another school. It wasn't a case of not knowing their identities; all three had been kicked off the Saratoga football team.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said it took seven months to gather evidence to support the charges.

"We did many, many search warrants, more than a dozen, probably 20, 30 search warrants. We seized evidence -- cellphones, computers, other electronic devices -- and the forensic analysis of those devices really, really gave us the evidence that we needed," said Smith.

The protracted investigation might have had a chilling effect on students coming forward, knowing the three teen boys were still on campus.

"Having these kids remain on campus was a huge problem with kids coming forward because they were scared, they were afraid, they were fearful," said Larry Pott, Audrie's father.

Larry and Sheila Pott have filed a claim against the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District for allegedly saying bullying played no role in Audrie's death, for failure to expel the three students, and for not documenting a spring 2012 meeting about bullying of Audrie.

The school district issued a four-page response, saying it didn't expel the students because the party was not held on school property and that bullying was not discussed at any meeting with Audrie's parents last year.

The three boys are facing charges that are adult in nature, including distribution of child pornography and a form of sexual assault. However, they are the types of crimes that state law does not require the boys to be tried as adults.


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