“There you go, lock me up…. I’m not protecting anyone who made my life a living hell.”
tweeted a Louisville (KY) teen frustrated with her attackers’ lenient plea bargain after they attacked her while she was unconscious — and posted pictures of the attack on the Internet. In that ellipses on Twitter were the names of the two juveniles who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her and posting the pictures.
Savannah Dietrich, the 17-year-old victim *named with her and her parents’ written permission in the Louisville Courier Journal* now faces contempt charges requested by her convicted but not yet sentenced attackers’ attorneys for violating the confidentiality of the juvenile court system, which protected them from being named — until her Tweet.
“For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t go out in public places,” she told the newspaper, as her father, Michael, and attorneys sat nearby. “You just sit there and wonder, who saw (the pictures), who knows?”
After researching the laws surrounding confidentiality of juvenile proceedings, she decided to word her tweets carefully to avoid discussing what happened in court or what anyone said in court. She was in tears in court when the plea bargain was revealed to her for the first time.
Now, Dietrich is facing a potential jail sentence, as the attorneys for the boys have asked a Jefferson District Court judge to hold her in contempt because they say that in naming her attackers, she violated the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing and the court’s order not to speak of it.
A contempt charge carries a potential sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Keep in mind that these attackers posted pictures of their victim on the Internet. And then recall it was just a year ago that prosecutors, albeit in other jurisdictions, wanted to lock up teens for taking, and sharing, racy pictures of themselves on the Internet.
How is this a misdemeanor charge in juvenile court, which would presumably be expunged when these attackers attain their majority. Okay, the felony assault plea may probably be in line with what they did, buy why did the district attorney plea down the additional assault of distribution of the photos on the Internet? And why did the victim only hear of the plea agreement in court?
Savannah Dietrich is unbowed.
Dietrich said that despite the judge’s order, she needed to stand up for herself. “I’m at the point that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it.”
What say you?