This undated photo provided by her family via attorney Robert Allard shows Audrie Pott. A Northern California sheriff's office has arrested three 16-year-old boys on accusations that they sexually battered the 15-year-old girl who hanged herself eight days after the attack last fall. Santa Clara County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jose Cardoza says the teens were arrested Thursday, April 11, 2013, two at Saratoga High School and a third at Christopher High School in Gilroy. (AP Photo/Family photo provided by attorney Robert Allard) NO SALES MAGS OUT FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Authorities have released more information about the arrests of three boys accused in the death of a 15-year-old Northern California girl who took her own life after she was sexually abused and an explicit photo of the assault circulated online.
After several months of investigating the death of Audrie Pott, a Saratoga High School sophomore, who hanged herself in September, sheriff's deputies arrested three 16-year-old boys on Thursday, pulling two out of Saratoga High School classes and a third out of Christopher High School in nearby Gilroy, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The assault took place after Audrie had gone to a girlfriend's house on Sept. 2, whose parents were out of town, and the teens had access to an unlocked liquor cabinet, Robert Allard, the attorney representing the teenager's mother, father and step-mother, told the newspaper.
"They did unimaginable things to her while she was unconscious," Allard said. "A photo or multiple photos were taken of the assault as it was taking place."
The Associated Press does not routinely identify victims of sexual assault, but family attorney Robert Allard says Pott's family wanted her name and case known.
The images posted online were the key pieces of evidence that led to the arrests of the boys, authorities said.
A sheriff's deputy assigned to patrol Saratoga High School heard about at least one graphic photo being shared on social media, and as part of their investigation, deputies confiscated numerous cellphones and computers of students, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told the Mercury News Friday.
"The bravado to think — what were they thinking?" Smith said.
"I don't know why they would think it would be OK."
But lawyers for the three boys, whose names have not been released because they are minors, released a statement Friday asking the public to withhold judgment until their clients can give their side of the story.
"Much of what has been reported over the last several days is inaccurate. Most disturbing is the attempt to link (Audrie's) suicide to the specific actions of these three boys," the statement from San Jose attorneys Eric Geffon, Alan Lagod and Benjamin Williams reads. "We are hopeful that everyone understands that these boys, none of whom have ever been in trouble with the law, are to be regarded as innocent."
The boys were being held in juvenile hall on suspicion of sexual battery.
Allard said Thursday's arrests "reopened a wound" for the girl's family members, and they have gone into seclusion.
Her mother, father and step-mother have scheduled a Monday news conference where they plan to discuss how they found out about the attack.
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