Savannah Dietrich comes face-to-face with admitted abusers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Savannah Dietrich comes face-to-face with admitted abusers

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The two boys accused of sexually abusing a Louisville girl have accepted a modified plea deal.

17-year-old Savannah Dietrich, who got national attention for tweeting the names of the boys, came face-to-face with the two in court Friday.

"It's very tiring, but I almost feel like I breath. It's definitely a success for me," Dietrich told WDRB News after the more than six hour court hearing ended.

The judge offered the two boys, Will Frey and Austin Zehnder, a modified deal that requires a guilty plea to sexual abuse and voyeurism. It also requires them to be under the supervision of the state's juvenile justice department, where they'll undergo offender treatment and perform 50 hours of community service at a women's facility.

Under the deal, the boys pleaded guilty to two felonies charges, which can be amended down to misdemeanors with good behavior and eventually expunged in five years. 

The boy's admission of guilt was not enough for Dietrich initially, who tweeted the boys' names breaking a gag order and almost landing herself in jail. Her post on Twitter drew national media attention and led the way for the juvenile case to be open to the public.

During Friday's hearing. the boys' attorneys apologized on their behalf in open court. The two were accused of sexually assaulting Dietrich and taking photographs as she lay unconscious.

As part of the plea deal and at Savannah Dietrich's request, the names of those who were shown the images must be turn over to Dietrich and her attorneys.

Earlier during Friday's hearing, Dietrich read a victim impact statement, confronting her two alleged abusers.

"My conclusion is you did know what you did was wrong, but did you care? No. Instead, you violated me and both of you said it was funny. Tell me, who thought it was funny? Who laughed at you abusing me? And who said it was so funny? Why wasn't I in on this joke," Dietrich asked.

Savannah's post on twitter of the boys' names drew national attention after she felt their original plea deal was too "lenient" It would've given the boys a clean record by the age of 19 and a half.

"I find the other deal really insulting and that would've set an example to that these types of crimes aren't taken very seriously," said Dietrich.

An attorney for the two boys says all parties are satisfied.

"The juvenile justice department has recommended a course and a plan for our boys that will let put this behind them," said David Mejia, an attorney for Zehnder.

The county attorney, Mike O'Connell, would not comment on any internal reprimands only saying:

"Could we have done better? Yes. We could've done better in how we communicated the disposition of this case," he said.

Dietrich said she learned life lessons about the justice system and who to trust.

"I'm just so glad that this will send out a message to other people - hopefully other victims to stand up, report their crime and if they see flaws in the system to not stop - to keep on fighting," she said.

Court documents reveal Zehnder and Frey touched Dietrich inappropriately at a party at her house last year.  In June the boys pleaded guilty to voyeurism and sexual abuse. 

Dietrich also said to the boys, "You should know sexually assaulting an unconscious victim, taking a picture of it and disseminating it is wrong. My conclusion is you knew it was wrong, but did you care? No. Instead you violated me and both of you said it was funny. Tell me, who thought it was funny? Who laughed at you? Who thought it was so funny and why didn't anyone tell me about the joke?"

Traditionally, there is a gag order on juvenile proceedings, but Dietrich felt the plea deal was too lenient -- 50 hours community service, a diversion agreement, counseling, and if they stay out of trouble, their record will be expunged at age 19 and a half. 

Dietrich took to Twitter to out the teens, violating the gag order in the case because she felt her voice was not being heard.  She faced a contempt of court charge which has since been dropped.

That tweet brought national attention to the case, which led to the proceedings being opened up to the public.  Besides Louisville media, journalists from Cincinnati and national outlets are also reporting on the case.

Copyright 2012 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.

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