The parents of a Saratoga girl who committed suicide after an alleged sexual assault by three boys in 2012 posted an online petition Wednesday calling for the expulsion of the boys from high schools in Saratoga and Gilroy.
The petition, prepared by the parents of 15-year-old Audrie Pott on the website Change.org, asks the principals of Saratoga and Christopher high schools to expel the boys. It had been signed by nearly 18,000 people as of Thursday, according to the site, with a goal of 150,000 signers.
The parents, Lawrence and Sheila Pott, also on Wednesday posted a message on the Facebook page of their non-profit charity the Audrie Pott Foundation urging Facebook members to sign the Change.org petition.
The three boys, two of whom attend Saratoga high and a third who attends Christopher high in Gilroy, were 16 at the time of alleged sexual assault on Audrie on Sept. 2, 2012 during a party at Audrie's friend's home in Saratoga after she had been intoxicated from drinking alcohol.
They allegedly removed Audrie's clothing, wrote on her body with a felt pen, sexually abused her and took pictures of her to show students at Saratoga High School where they and Audrie were sophomores, according a
wrongful death suit filed her parents.
Audrie hanged herself eight days later at her mother's Los Altos home, went into a coma and died at a hospital two days afterwards when she was removed from life support.
Her parents in 2013 filed their suit against the boys' parents and others claiming that anguish over the events at the party and the photos drove the girl to suicide.
The teen boys were arrested by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office in 2013 on suspicion of sexual battery and charged in juvenile court in San Jose.
According to Audrie's parents, they were convicted, but activity in their criminal case has not been made public because the boys were under 18 years old.
However, the Potts in their petition on Change.org posted photos of the boys and their full names.
BCN is not publishing the names because the three were minors at the time when the party occurred and when they were arrested in the criminal case.
In the petition, the Potts claim that permitting the three to continue in school "sets an example to other students and athletes that this type of criminal behavior will be tolerated without regard for victim's rights or the safety of the other students on campus."
Saratoga high's principal Paul Robinson said that he could not comment on disciplinary actions concerning students at his school.
Robinson said that only the school board of the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District is authorized to expel a student from a school within the district, not a principal.
Paul Winslow, the principal of Christopher high, part of the Gilroy Unified School District, could not be reached for comment.
The Potts' civil case, which has had numerous hearings on motions by the plaintiffs and defendants since it was filed on April 15, 2013 in Superior Court in San Jose, is ongoing and a hearing about a date for a jury trial is set for Feb. 23, according to the court's website.