Parents of juveniles accused of sexual assault upset that names are public
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Juvenile court proceedings are usually closed to the public, but we're now getting a look inside the case of 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich.
Dietrich made headlines when she defied a judge's order and tweeted the names of two boys who were accused of sexually abusing her. Now Dietrich has gotten her wish and the case is in the public eye.
Dietrich just learned she will get to speak her mind in court on September 14th at sentencing.. about what she calls a lenient plea bargain offer for two lacrosse players and Trinity High students Austin Zehnder and William Frey. They were not in court today, but their parents were.
Dietrich says, "I'm definitely nervous. I've been thinking about it since I reported it. I've been thinking about what I want to say to the boys what I want to say to the judge."
We're getting a rare look inside juvenile court which is normally closed to the media because this case was ruled to be open. All court documents in the case are also public including texts between the three teens.
Talking to investigators, Zehnder and Frey admit to sexually abusing Dietrich in August of last year with their hands and taking photos of the sexual acts.
When Dietrich found out, the boys texted her saying "Why do you want to cause the same pain we caused you? We said we were sorry." They admit to making a "mistake."
A text from Zehnder to Dietrich says, "This could easily ruin both me and Will's lives forever. Please Savannah, I'm asking you to not do this. Nothing good can come out of this for anyone."
Dietrich replies, "You don't think you ruined my life forever? How would you feel knowing you basically got raped, knowing people are seeing your pictures."
During a court hearing Friday morning, Dietrich's attorneys tried to get Assistant County Attorney Paul Richwalsky thrown off the case, citing his ties to Trinity High School, where the boys were students. But Judge Angela Bisig denied that motion.
Mike O'Connell, the Jefferson County Attorney says, "He's denied that emphatically. I don't have anything further to say about that. We could talk about where everyone went to high school in every criminal proceeding or every involvement in Louisville, Kentucky and probably find the same argument somewhere along the road."
The judge ruled that Dietrich, as a victim, can voice her concerns about the plea bargain the defendants received. Dietrich calls lenient. According to court documents, the boys were given a chance to plead guilty and would be required to complete 50 hours of community service.
Dietrich says, "I'm going to talk about how the court has handled it and the unjust things that have happened to me. I hope to bring light to the court. Hopefully they will side with me, judge will side with me."
The boys' attorneys also tried to remove Dietrich's attorney, Thomas Clay, from the case, but Judge Bisig denied that request.
Sharon Dietrich, Savannah's mother says, "And that's how this happened she didn't recognize the dangers amongst her peers because they were also Catholic high school students and I didn't recognize the danger because they were Catholic high school students."
Zehnder's attorney says Zehnder was kicked out of Trinity and is in therapy.
A spokesperson from Trinity High School issued this statement to WDRB saying "The school reserves the right to discipline students for conduct occurring on or off campus. We do not publicly discuss specific disciplinary instances." The school says Frey and Zehnder are no longer enrolled at Trinity.
Frey and Zehnder's parents expressed their anger with the boys' names being made public. But some WDRB viewers say they appreciate the names which are public record were not hidden.
Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.