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Tonight on AC360: Teen fights for justice after sexual assault pictures discovered
September 14th, 2012
06:07 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Teen fights for justice after sexual assault pictures discovered

Savannah Dietrich was 16 when she was sexually assaulted by two teenage boys as she lay unconscious on the kitchen floor in a Louisville, Kentucky home. They had been drinking with other friends before the incident. When she woke up, she knew something had happened, but it would be months before she knew how they had taken advantage of her, that they had photographed the assault on their cell phones.

Court transcripts show the teens admitted to the crime. One said “...we put our fingers in her...cause we thought it would be funny...” The second boy told a detective he thought Savannah was fine with it because she didn’t tell them to stop. Accused of felony sexual assault and misdemeanor voyeurism, both pleaded guilty.

When the prosecutor offered them a plea bargain, Savannah and her parents were surprised. They had never agreed to that and thought the punishment was too lenient for the crime. The boys would get 50 hours of volunteer work and a diversion program, which if completed, their criminal records would be erased.

Savannah’s personal attorney called it “highly unprecedented” that this type of conviction would disappear from someone’s record. He believes the mild sentence is a result of the prosecutor’s connection to the boys. Hear from him in tonight’s report.

Not only was the plea bargain upsetting to Savannah, but she says the prosecutor had told her jail was for “real rapists,” which he denies. In an affidavit, he accused her of being delusional and slammed her character.

Feeling frustrated by the plea deal and a judge’s warning to be quiet about the case, she took to Twitter and tweeted the names of the two boys. For outing them, she was threatened with contempt of court and jail time; the motion was later dropped.

Now the victim and the convicted are awaiting the judge’s decision about whether the punishment will stand. They were all in court together today when Savannah appealed to the judge for harsher sentences and directly addressed the boys.

"They had to wait until my eyes were closed to actually do this to me, but now they have to look in my eyes and see the full extent of what they've done," said Savannah.

For more on the case, watch Gary Tuchman’s piece at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

UPDATE. Watch tonight's report below. Here's how the judge decided late Friday to change the plea deal:
 

  • The 50 hours of community service must be for a charity that helps women.
  • The teens' records will no longer be wiped clean at the age of 19 and a half. The felony sexual assault will become a misdemeanor when they're 21 and when they're 26 they can apply to get their record expunged.
  • They need to give Savannah Dietrich a list of everyone who saw the photo of the assault.

 

Post by:
Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. JFranklin

    The judged should have recused himself and asked for the sentence review to be handled elsewhere. I hope the victim gets the justice she deserves.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  2. Case

    Those boys knew right from wrong and "thought it would be funny" there records should never be erased. They are perverts and need to toto jail. Sickos sharing pictures.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  3. Jennifer

    They were wrong. I think the state imposed consequence is fine and I also think the natural consequense of people finding out what they did: Twittering their names is okay if that is what Savannah chooses. If they were concerned about people knowing what they had done, they shouldn't have photographed it and shared it. I don't think that what they did was her responsibility, but I agree with the other posters... She was underage and drunk... There should be state imposed consequence for her for that act and another unfortuante consequence of her actions was that she was in a position that someone could take advantage of her - again in no way saying they aren't responsible for what they did - they are definitely responsible.

    September 21, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  4. Andy

    Im mad at her, they didn't ruin her life she is perfectly fine now. These boys are the ones with the ruined life now just because they made a simple mistake. They have so much shame already and she decides to say who they are publicly? thats messed up, i was in a similar position to those boys and i was so shameful of myself that i attempted suicide 3 times. It sucks, they were just boys with raging hormones, and she was drinking and so were they. God since when have you heard of a girl sexually assaulting a boy being bad. It is never in the reports or anything. It is so sexist, i wish i could talk to these boys because their life is ruined now because of one mistake. People are messed up nowadays

    September 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Luke

      This is exactly the kind of horrible 'blame the victim' mentality that makes life so much worse for the victims of sexual assault. The fact that someone has been drinking does not make it okay to sexually assault them. End of story.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • John Doe

      How would you feel if it were someone close to you were in her place instead – like your sister, niece, or perhaps your mother or maybe you? She chose to drink but that doesn't give those boys the right to do what they want with her. I hope no one you know would feel the disgrace that this young lady experienced. Exposing the boys' identity would help other girls from suffering the same fate.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Jovi

      I'm not a woman. But if I'm passed out drunk I don't want anyone messing with me. But let's break it down:
      If someone drew crap on me, fine, obnoxious, but whatever.
      If someone put their junk on my face that assuredly crosses the line but it isn't as bad...
      ...as if someone fondled me or fingered me (Zehnder and Frey stuck their fingers in her vagina and it seems like Frey at least was creepily excited about showing the pictures he took of it to other people). For that to happen it have it NOT affect the lives of the people who did it would be an injustice.
      Sure I might not remember that happening, but if after it happened I found out about it because they took pictures of it (or found out in any way, really) I would feel incredibly violated want the people who did it to face retribution. And I can't see how anyone could see this is as something minor, or something that you should expect when you pass out drunk (at your own house, with three people you knew and invited over).

      September 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • sixfive

      How do you know she is "fine"? The problem here is that they compounded their guilt and stupidity by making the images to others. They where proud of what they did.

      This punishment is too light.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mary

      Really? They raped her...not the other way around. If they did not want their names published, they should not have done what they did. No matter what – it was wrong.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Sam

      You are one scary dude. May I advise you not to go around sticking things in unconscious women...no matter why the reason they are unconscious. How about you pass out and a couple of your friends stick things in your orifices, that would be anther story right.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Tammy

      These boys made the decision, as did you (by the sound of your statement), to do this horrible act. Their lives do not have to be ruined, but hopefully they will learn a huge lesson from this and not victimize another person again. While this girl obviously drank too much alcohol, this does not warrant an assault. This is sad all the way around. To top it off this so-called prosecutor is more like a defence attorney. He needs to lose his job, immediately!!

      September 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • steve

      she should take some responsibility....maybe learn to NOT drink until it's legal to do so; learn to not pass out on a kitchen floor; learn to hang around and be vulnerable only with friends you can trust.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  5. Keith

    Everyone is getting caught up in the fact that she consumed alcohol. What if she was in diabetic shock or had some other medical condition that rendered her incapacitated, would she still be "somewhat responsible" for the sexual assault? The important part is that she could not consent in her condition, no matter what put her in that condition.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Colin

      Thats not a good argument one is a medical condition that a person has absolutely no choice over the other is personal decision to get drunk.

      September 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
      • Jovi

        You should feel free to be passed out and not be molested. The girl is almost certainly less trusting and more careful after this, and yes, she obviously felt like she could get drunk around these boys and not have them molest her when that obviously wasn't the case.

        But let's look at it as a moral question from the boys' point of view. Is it any better to sexually assault someone who is passed out due to alcohol then someone who is passed out due to an inherent medical condition?

        You can say that it is wrong to get black out drunk, there are valid reasons to feel this way, but if someone is passed out how they got to that point doesn't make any difference as far as it relates to a person who decides to molest them. While drinking to excess may be wrong and irresponsible, it doesn't lead to "guilt sharing" because how she got to a state of unresponsiveness has no bearing in what they did to her when she was in that state.

        September 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Marc

    While the boys sentence is too light for what they did, how many girls her age decide to drink too much and put themselves at risk? And no, she didn't ask for it, but her actions helped lead to it. If she wasn't out getting so drunk she passed out it probably wouldn't have happened. Also being with friends didn't make her safer... It's obvious the quality of her friends to leave her there. It speaks volumes on what she was doing with her life at the time.

    September 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Tammy

      As a "SURVIVOR" of sexual assault that was in NO WAY my fault, I should be upset with you and your statement, however I am not. Why? Because you are right on this..... When one ALLOWS themselves to be put in a certain position that will lead to rape or molestation, such as not being aware of your surroundings at all times because you were doing drugs and or alcohol, you yourself are just as much of an assailant to yourself as the one's who physically "victimized" you.. I believe, or at least hope, she learned her lesson and realizes that their are dire consequences resulting and knows to never allow herself to be in certain situations.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • joe

        People are responsible for there own actions and choices. Those boy's chose to assault and take advantage of Savannah, know matter how precarious or outright dangerous of a situation she put herself in. Also having court records sealed because of someone being a minor is one thing. But to have the victim possibly facing a harsher penalty than her assailants for bringing awareness to other people is outrageous. Why should she be mandated to protect the character of these boys. Especially when they don't have any. Talk about being victimized.

        September 20, 2012 at 9:36 am |
      • Druz

        No, Tammy. You aren't just as much an assailant. If you see a drunk guy and decide it would be fun to hit him over the head repeatedly with a tire iron, he was perhaps unwise to be walking down a street where tire-iron wielding psychopaths could be found, and also to have impaired his reflexes with alcohol in a dangerous world, but you are still the one who assaulted him. He did not "assault himself". In the same way getting drunk around people who you assume won't molest you but actually will seize upon your vulnerable state as a chance to do so is perhaps unwise, but it doesn't make them less guilty.

        I am sure she did "learn her lesson". I bet she'll find it very hard to trust men, especially in situations in which she is drinking or otherwise more vulnerable than usual, but also in general. But not being adequately vigilant against people who will sexually molest you when the opportunity arises is not the same as BEING someone who will sexually molest people when the opportunity arises.

        September 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • Jason

        Tammy:
        Stay strong. These boys are dirtbags,just like the guy who assaulted you. They deserve far more than they have recieved.

        September 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Stefanie

      I wonder Marc if this were your daughter would you feel the same way? Your wife? This girl did nothing - not even drinking alcohol - to invite a sexual assault. At issue here is not her actions or lack thereof – - never is a sexual assault the victim's fault. Here we have another situation where the legal system says, Oh "boys will be boys" and the girl invited the sexual assault. Sadly, there are probably many more who feel the same way you do.

      September 19, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Kelsey

      Marc,
      I'm sure you would change your mind if your daughter, or maybe your little sister was the recipient of the assault. You passing judgement about her lifestyle as a result of sexual assault is disgusting. Get out of town. Sexual assualt is never "asked for," unless your sick mind works that way, and it looks like yours does. It's people like you that help perpetuate the old adage: "well, she was askin' for it!" You make me sick. Nobody, man nor woman nor anyone inbetween, ASKS to be assaulted. You might try the 1800s, you'd probably feel more at home.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • sixfive

      Just as she chose to drink, those clowns chose to take advantage of her. And they got punished. It's called human decency and respect. You see a person fall to the ground, do you step on them or help them up? You at a party with an attractive female, she is drunk and passes out. Do you take her someplace where she can sleep or take her home, or do you molest or rape her? Is that her punishment that she be a victim of assault?

      September 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Lars

      Saying she brought the assault on herself by drinking is like saying someone with their car parked on the street is asking to have it broken into or stolen.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  7. Clay Jones

    These boys should be charged with the creation, distribution and possession of Child Porn. Ferber vs. New York in 1982 makes the creation, distribution and possession of all forms of child porn illegal. Anyone these boys sent this picture to should be charged with the possession of Child Porn. It is time for the lead prosecutor to step in and prosecute these boys for all the crimes these boys committed. It is time to stop covering up these boys crimes and do your job.

    September 17, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Michael

      I agree. Where is the child porn charge. And to those that say something along the lines of, "oh it isn't okay for them to do that to her but she had a part in it by her actions of drinking" Are you devoid of brains? And, well, maybe if your child is raped when she is doing what many or most of us have done, underage drinking, then you too will reconsider your illogical thoughts....f'ing morons in this world, everywhere.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  8. Vincent FitzGerald

    Good for you Savannah, these two boys knew what they were doing and I have no doubt they knew it was wrong. I hope you can move on from this. It is too bad you were victimized by the prosecutor as well. Hopefully that guy will lose his job and his license to practice as well. I have no sympathy for either the boys or the corrupt prosecutor.

    September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  9. Susan

    YesI completely agree that what the 2 boys did to Savannah was very wrong and inexcusable. But what bothers me is that It seems like Savannah is putting on an act for the media and doesn't appear to have any remorse for her actions. I'm not making this comment out of just speculation either. Savannah still goes our and makes poor decisions with alcohol even after her "traumatic" experience. The reason the beach was closed down on spring break in march 2012 (months after the incident) was because savannah was found yet again passed out drunk and naked on the beach. She has also allegedly been seen having sex openly in parties while very intoxicated numerous times since that weekend. These actions and conduct do not seem to correspond with a girl who was deeply afflicted by a sexual assault caused by reckless underage drinking. Some sources say she wasn't even upset about what happened that weekend until she later realized she could make money and get media attention for pressing charges and becoming the poster child for feminism. Her Mother is now writing a book. Now I am not trying to say she deserved what happened to her because no one deserves that but I just wanted to point out that Savannah may not be the innocent angel the press makes her out to be and still makes poor decisions concerning alcohol.. Just a little perspective.

    September 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • melind morton

      I think it's quite likely that what was done to Savannah led, or will lead, to further problems. Talk to anyone who has worked with victims of abuse, rape, and domestic violence. That is why I think the molesters or rapists should be required to pay for her onging counseling and for any consequences of the school missed as a result of what they did to her. The civil law of torts can hold defendants liable for intentional as well as negligent acts, and most people would consider intentional harm even worse than negligent harm.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Ty Andres

      Susan, I'm happy that you spoke out, because this is an example of a truly sorrowful issue that has plagued our Country for too long (Please read my Comment posted today). True Rape is a life altering experience for True victims. Depending upon their mental strength abilities, it can lead to a lifetime of great unshakable suffering. Sad. However, over the years I have learned that most true rapes are not reported, many because of having to tell the story over and over to authorities and each time being more humiliating, or it involves a Family Member, and in far too many instances, the Victim winds up being put on trial. We have to also keep in mind that True Rape doesn't always mean a female victim. Given the fact that most true rapes go unreported, we find that we must not prematurely leap to a guilty judgement in favor of the alleged victim, because of the "almost never reported" aspect involved. So we proceed with open minds, do a thorough investigation into all the facts and all the "players" involved. Once a charge of Rape is leveled against anyone, it is far too serious and life damaging crime to make unnecessary mistakes. In the case of True Rape Females, with blazing evidence in their favor, such as the Hotel Maid being allegedly Raped by the super-powerful world connected Frenchman favored to be the next head of France, it isn't very encouraging for future true victims to come forward. Here we have a case of a man too powerful to indict. Ridiculously insulting, thanks to "white men" flunkies acting at the behest of the Global Super-Elite.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Stefanie

      Oh Susan. . . you are absolutely saying Savannah deserved to be assaulted... your post is disgusting and hearsay only. Were you one of her "friends?"

      September 19, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • David

      I also agree that what the 2 boys did to Savannah was very wrong and inexcusable. What bothers me is why you think Savannah needs to have and show remorse for her actions. She may enjoy alcohol. She may enjoy consensual sex in private and/or in front of people at parties. She may also enjoy being naked in public. She faces a higher risk of being raped – that is one consequence of her actions, as is the crime being prosecuted for her assailant/s. Thanks for not trying to say she deserved what happened to her because "no one deserves that". Is anyone really an innocent angel?.. Is that relevant? Just a little perspective.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • ian killminster

      "Friend" of the rapist or rapist family?.......you betcha.

      September 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  10. Sheryl B

    Why should these guys get the opportunity to get their records reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged at 26? Sex offenders endanger anyone vulnerable – young children, handicapped, elderly.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Todd

    What these boys did was wrong, but I wonder what would happen if it were reversed and the guy was drunk and the girls decided to strip him and play around with him, just because they thought it was fun. You know, this does happen too. I bet in that reversed situation this would not be consdered an 'assault' for simply touching him while drunk. All the women commenting here would be saying he probably wanted it...and women know it. It's amazing how hypocritical women are on this subject.

    September 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Iveta

      Todd, I applaud what you said. And yes, if that happens to a guy it would still very much be wrong and illegal. I think you are right to point out that victims face various stereotypes and biases, irrespective of gender. For women it's: "she was acting irresponsibly", and for men: "you can't really rape a man". Men, like women, would also have a hard time admitting to it because they also have biases going against them. Ironically, both biases originate in the patriarchal system: for women, the bias is that bad things don't happen to good women who know their place and act "prudently". The underlying bias against men powered, ironically, also by patriarchy is that men are physically in control as the stronger ones and that they are sexually indiscriminate ("the more, the better *high five, dude*"). We have to work to eliminate both sets of biases from the legal systems.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  12. Eric

    I see a lot of comments on here saying it doesn't matter how a girl acts when she's drunk, but then shouldn't the boys be excused for what they did because they were drunk also? Why is it just the guys that have to be held responsible? I think everyone should be held accountable for how they act when they're drunk. They are the ones that choose to drink and get drunk.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Eileen Gray

      Sir, your logic is faulty. The young lady drank to be sure, but offended no one. The young men, however, chose to assault her. Drunk or not, she did not invite the assault. And alcohol does not excuse their heartless abuse of a helpless and unaware female. Their behavior was disgusting and deserves to be punished. She should be punished for drinking. In what society, sir, does such a punishment involve sexual assault?

      September 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Alicia Szabo

      I think you don't quite understand what people mean here. No one said that a person's behavior is excused if they happen to be drunk, but the implication that a victim of sexual assault should have "known better" than to drink that much/wear that outfit/stay out that late, etc. is not only offensive, but wrong. It makes them responsible for another persons criminal behavior. If you forget to lock your doors, I don't suddenly have the right to rob you. And if a person is so intoxicated they pass out I don't have the right rape them. It is really just that simple.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
      • Alex

        The actions of the boys were wrong, but let's not absolve a girl for going out, getting drunk, and blacking out, at the the age of 16. My teen daughter did the same thing and was lucky enough to have a girlfriend there to 'watch over her' during her "mental absence". My daughter knew she was not supposed to drink alcohol...I won't absolve her for being stupid.

        I taught all my children to cross the street safely...if, in the absence of malice, they get run over, I will grieve, but I won't blame the driver.

        September 18, 2012 at 10:42 am |
        • Barry

          Your logic is faulty. Your hypothetical assume the driver hits your child by accident. But what if it was intentional? I suspect your answer would be different in that case. These boys did not accidentally violate her. She may have been drunk but even drunk people have a right to expect other people will not intentionally take advantage of them (or intentionally drive over them using your poor example).

          September 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Greg

      Yes, everyone should be held completely responsible for their actions – intoxicated or not. However, she did not act – they did. Those rapists should serve serious jail time in addition to volunteer work at a shelter for abused women. They should carry felony sexual assault convictions with them – and have to register as sex offenders – for the rest of their lives. Can they undo the crime? No? Then their records should never be expunged.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • alison

      you are always responsible for your own actions when drunk..but you need to TAKE responsibility if you impact someone else. a girl getting drunk and passing out naked is something to be ashamed of.
      but men touching her when she's passed out is a CRIME.
      rape is rape - whether the woman is promiscuous, married or other... even a husband can be charged with rape. even if the woman has agreed to have sex with him 1000 times before that. no means no.
      even at 16 guys know this is wrong. they should be held accountable.

      September 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Belinda

      It's sad that things like this should be explained . One of my two sons drinks. Other people have told me that Beautiful, Drunk Women have made passes at him, when he also has been drinking. He explained to me that he would never do that, that he is disgusted by the fact that Men blame Drinking for inexcusable behavior. My father once told me , don't ever blame drinking for anything you do wrong , it's a lie, blame yourself. Pedophiles often blame drinking for their behavior, when actually, that is a lie. Get it yet ? Where was your Mom when you were growing up ? That's right you haven't quite grown up.

      September 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  13. medic0535

    On how many levels is this wrong? and do we really need to debate it?

    September 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  14. Kay

    It doesn't occur to anyone that maybe she should not have been drinking, hence putting herself in that situation? I don't feel sorry for her.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Charlotte

      The consequence for making a bad decision is NOT sexual abuse.

      September 15, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • RB

      Just because she was drinking and passed out does not give them the right to assault her
      SHe made a mistake we all have, but these young men assaulted her
      I can't believe a woman said this about a young lady

      September 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • mbona

      Those boys should have felonies on their records for life. That prosecutor and judge should both be removed. The feds should move in and investigate them to see what the connections are between them and the boys. Something stinks from Kentucky and I don't think it's the Colonel's recipe.

      September 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • logan

        I agree something stinks. SOME ONE conected to this case should complain to the judical bar about the judges and prsecutor behavor in this case. Especialy when teens are being fiund guilty of being sex afenders for sending naked photos of them selves on their phones. So i would love to here the explaination for going so easy on these guys for an actual assualt. Not to mention the judges reason for issueing a gag order on this case.

        September 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Bridget

      Drinking doesn't give anyone the right to sexually assault her!

      September 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Alicia Szabo

      Did it occur to you that being drunk didn't give them the right to sexually assault and humiliate her? If you leave your house unlocked do I get to rob you? Is it your fault for putting yourself in that "situation", or would I just be wrong for taking advantage of the situation?

      I can't wait until the world wakes up and realizes we need to stop telling people to not "get raped" and start telling people "DON'T RAPE!" instead.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Alicia Szabo

      You are just blaming the victim for their abhorrent behavior. It doesn't matter how drunk she was, or what she was wearing, they didn't have the right to assault her. Period. End of story. Their punishment is a joke. She will live with this for the rest of her life. Her picture is on the Internet. They will have clean records after committing what any reasonable person would consider a heinous crime.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Crystal

      NO ONE deserves to be sexually assaulted! DRUNK or SOBER! They waited until she passed out so they would NOT hear her say NO! I don't understand your thinking! ( thank goodness!)

      September 16, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • aj

      If the boys had found a gun and killed her, would that have been her fault for drinking?

      September 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • JLynn

      So what does occur to you is that if someone is drunk in your presence, you now gain the right to have sex with them? Stop and think about what you're saying.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • SIMON FOLKARD

      She Didn't Deserve To Be Sexually Violated,If I Were Drunk,I Know I'm A Lot Older,But I Wouldn't Consider Some Girl Who Looks Like She's Probably Asleep,To Then Think OH Well I Think I'll Go And Have Some Fun.They Couldn't Have Been That Drunk,If They Had The Wherewithall To Film The Assault On Their Phones,And Find It Funny.At That Age Everybody Virtually Gets Drunk,Wasted Does Silly Things-NOT SEXUALLY ASSAULT A VULNERABLE GIRL.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • melind morton

      Why do you want to blame the victim? I remember when I started to drink occasonally in high school. It was 1955 and at 15 I had just been orally gang raped by six older boys at the beginning of our senior year. Because I was warned to tell no one (and anyway felt like damaged goods), I had no way to "put it behind me." But I had to continue going to the same high school in classes with some of the youths (in fact more men than boys) in hopes that I would graduate and find a way out of the mess. One day I remembered that my grandmother kept a bottle of whiskey in her closet for when her sons and my uncles visited at Thanksgiving and Christmas. As bad as it tasted, I drank enough that I fell asleep for a while, and there it was - self-medication.

      Probably I'm lucky that I didn't like the taste that much. I don't even drink now. Maybe that's because I went through years of therapy after initially repressing but then recovering (in my forties) the awful and outrageous memory of what they did - not because I was drinking with them, but because two of them came to my home to ask me to go to a local restaurant with them. When we got there, the other four jumped in the car and basically kidnapped me to a local park.

      Personally, I believe rapists and other molesters and abusers should be responsible for the consequences of their actions, whether they are drinking or not. We try to hold drinking drivers responsible for the injuries they do to others, and so we should hold drinking rapists or molesters responsible for theirs. Besides, lots of guys provide alcohol and sometimes date rape drugs to women and girls simply to take advantage of them

      September 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  15. Emuobo Agbahovbe

    I think the real questions here are why are 15 and 16 year olds getting drunk and passing out? Where were the parents of both parties? Obviously the boys should be punished more but should the girl go unpunished? She is a victim I agree but she is also not innocent in this matter.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Umm, no. Despite drinking, there is no excuse for their behavior.

      If a girl is assaulted after she trips and hits her head, is she responsible for the behavior of those around her?

      'Cause that's what you're saying.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:22 am |
      • Xira

        If a girl intentionally bangs her head into a wall until she passes out, she deserves some of the culpability for a couple of young boys doing something stupid around her.

        Not all of it, hence the plea bargain.

        September 17, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  16. Mom

    This is wrong on so many levels!!! SHAME ON THE PROSECUTOR AND JUDGE for making this VICTIM a VICTIM again!! They both should be fired and those boys need to be properly sentenced!!!

    September 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  17. Shelley

    This is horrible. Prosecutors are supposed to be working for the people, NOT the accused.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  18. Ginny

    Savannah is not a victim. Love how she fought the system. You go Girl!

    September 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  19. Wendy

    It shouldn't matter if she was completely hammered or wide awake, how she acts when she's straight or drunk...touching someone in a sexual way without their permission is NEVER acceptable. EVER. Regardless of any judgement you may place on her character, Myviewis, other's rights end where hers begin and that is being SAFE in her own body. What an ignorant response. I hope it never happens to your daughter.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Xira

      How do you know she didn't ask for it? Were you there?

      Drunk chicks CAN ask for sex, ya'know.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Marie

        I'm sorry, but did you miss the part that said she was passed out on the floor? Hard to "ask" for sex when you are passed out! And the boys admitted that she was passed out as well.

        September 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  20. Eileen

    Savannah – Thank you for being strong and brave. Stay strong!!

    September 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  21. Ashley Christman

    It's appalling that the boys would get off so lightly when they did it because "they thought it would be funny". Rape and sexual assault are not a joke. These teens are old enough to understand that. By imposing such a lenient sentence, they've essentially been taught nothing and the victim has been victimized again. I support her decision to out them. They deserve to be publicly shamed and I hope the judge imposes something harsher on them.

    September 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Matt.H

      These teens are also old enough to understand they shouldn't have been drinking. The experience is the lesson, for both parties involved.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
      • Michelle

        It's a lesson, alright: our culture doesn't care enough about sexual assault, is quick to blame the victim, and your neighbors aren't going to lift a finger in your defense once you've been assaulted.

        September 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  22. Jennifer Jamison

    My just 15 year old niece was raped at a high school party two weeks ago. She was drunk and doesnt know how many raped her. She just turned 15. Photos have been posted on the internet. You are doing a story on this tonight and I hope there is some justice we can learn from your story to avenge our niece.

    September 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  23. myviewis

    She must have been pretty drunk to have laid on the floor passed out, not sure those boys thought she would be against them touching her, we don't know how she behaves when she is drunk. And the other friends were drunk also so we don't know how much they remember.

    September 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • kim

      Oh yes, blame the victim. People remember because those boys took pictures and showed them off to their friends!! When a girl gets drunk with friends, most assume they are safe from sexual assault. She did NOT give consent, so the blame lies with the boys. And it does NOT matter how she acts when drunk. She did not give consent. People like you who try to blame the victim make me sick.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Are you serious?

      So you think its ok what they did cause "hey we didnt know" i dont see how u can equate being passed out to giving consent to putting your fingers in her and senting pictures of it cross the web. Which by that state you must be a guy and capable of doing the same thing. The old adage "she was wearing a short skirt so she must had wanted it" sounds right up your alley.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Angered Mom

      you're "not sure those boys thought she would be against them touching her"????? um, I'm sorry, but are you kidding me? Whether she was intoxicated or not, they do not get to RAPE her. They weren't sure? Did she say "yes"? NO. Was she capable of saying "yes"? NO! Regardless of your ASSUMED possible prior behavior for her, they are RAPISTS and deserve a much more severe punishment. You are pathetic. Savannah is an amazingly strong young woman for exposing them. Bravo to her. Boo to you.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • NoMeansNo

      If she cannot give them consent (Meaning she is conscious and aware of her surroundings/actions) then that means that it's rape and/or sexual assault.

      Just because I woman is willing while she's awake doesn't mean she's willing while she's asleep and it is NEVER okay to sexually molest someone while they are incapacitated in ANY form.

      You can't just sexually assault someone because you THOUGHT they would be okay with it and any actions they make while they are drunk does NOT excuse someone taking advantage of that person.

      You should feel ashamed of yourself for trying to blame the victim for the actions of the attackers. It is NEVER the victim's fault. Period.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Elvis

      Your view is disgusting. Passed out means unable to consent and that would still hold true if she were acting inappropriately herself.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Renae

      You can't be serious. Yes, she must have been pretty drunk to have been passed out on the floor. I know of grown adults who find themselves drunk and passed out on the floor, and they have been drinking for years. Also, this is not a matter of how she behaved while she was passed out because she was, in fact, passed out. Furthermore, it doesn't really matter how much anyone else at the party remembers. They weren't violated. And it's on video.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • OhBoy

      Great, another who makes excuses for rape. I don't care how drunk I am, I'm not putting my fingers in someone passed out, no matter what they are like sober, but especially as a joke .. and if you think you'd get away with doing it to one of my loved ones – you are seriously mistaken, no matter what the courts say.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Eden

      It's a little ridiculous to imply Savannah deserved to be raped because she was drunk and passed out. Frankly, your response is especially disturbing as the article clearly states she was unconscious. Alcohol never excuses genital violence. The culture that uses alcohol as an excuse allows rapists to get away every day.

      There is no formula to avoid rape. Drunk or not, it is not the woman's fault but the rapist's responsibility to self-police themselves. A rapist is responsible for his or her behavior. And frankly, regardless of a women's behavior (you seem to apply she was flirtatious), a woman who is flirtatious, expressing desire, or open about her own sexuality can not be punished for such. People have a right to feel; they have a right to express themselves.

      It's pretty ironic to use alcohol to blame a rape victim, and then use alcohol to excuse the behavior of two rapists. Last time I checked if someone is passed out on the kitchen floor you check to see if they're okay. You don't take turns penetrating that individual before brazenly spreading photos on the virtual world.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • LC

      Them being drunk is no excuse for what they had did to her, she had no idea what had happend untill the boy started showing the photos that they had taken months ago when they had raped her, so that shows that they were not drunk and knew what they were doing.they should have to registerd as SEX AFFENDERS for doing this to that girl.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Xira

      This is an honest statement.

      It's _NOT_OK_ to ruin 2 young boys lives totally and forever because they did something stupid to a young girl who may very well have asked for it.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • melinda morton

        If you think it is ruining the lives of young males to prosecute them for a crime based on evidence they themselves provided by sharing pornographic picures which shamed and humiliated their victim, what do you think their crime did to her life? I believe the first concern needs to be for the victim rather than the perpetrators. Let's help her get her life turned around and going in a positive direction now - no longer a victim but a survivor who has overcome some strong odds against her.

        And perhaps if the young men will "man up" and accept their punishmen, they will learn something from their required community work with women's charities and be able to go on to live better adult lives than if they had been allowed to get away with their crime and continue to think of girls and women as mere objects with which to amuse themselves.

        September 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |