Lawyer: Blame Parents for Rape Victim's Suicide

Defense lawyer says Larry, Sheila Pott partially responsible for Audrie's death

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 8, 2014 8:16 AM CST

(Newser) Audrie Pott, 15, killed herself in 2012 after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by three boys at a party, who allegedly wrote crude messages on her body and then, according to her family, distributed a picture of her around school. But a lawyer for the teen boys says her parents, Larry and Sheila Pott, "set in motion" the events leading to her suicide years prior to the incident, the San Jose Mercury News reports. They were aware of, or should have been aware of, their daughter's "long-standing and serious emotional problems before her suicide and they should have sought professional help," say the court papers filed by the lawyer.

The papers, which also make vague claims about how Sheila's behavior hurt her daughter and also mention a fight Audrie had with two friends just before her death, were filed Dec. 27 in response to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Potts. The suit names the three boys who have been charged in the case as well as a teenage girl who, the Potts claim, prodded the boys to take the photos and write on Audrie's body. Click for more on the case.

Sheila Pott poses with a portrait of her daughter Audrie in Los Altos, Calif., Thursday, May 23, 2013.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Larry Pott and his wife, Lisa, pose for a portrait holding a picture of Larry's daughter Audrie in Saratoga, Calif., Wednesday, May 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
This undated photo provided by her family via attorney Robert Allard shows Audrie Pott.   (AP Photo/Family photo provided by attorney Robert Allard)
Larry Pott, father of Audrie Pott, reads a statement as Sheila Pott, left, Audrie's mother, looks on during a news conference Monday, April 15, 2013 in San Jose, Calif.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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