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Family of California teen who committed suicide plans to sue alleged attackers

Pott family via Zuma Press / file

The parents of a 15-year-old California girl who committed suicide after pictures of her being sexually assaulted were posted onlineplan to sue the three teenage boys accused of attacking her, the family's attorney said Monday.

Audrie Pott of Saratoga, near San Jose, hanged herself Sept. 10, a week after she was assaulted while she was intoxicated and unconscious. The family's lawyer, Robert Allard, said Audrie felt she was being bullied after photos of the assault were disseminated through text messages and email at Saratoga High School.

Allard said he was filing the wrongful death lawsuit to force more information to be made public, NBC Bay Area reported.

NBC News usually doesn't name the alleged victims of sexual assault, but Audrie's parents have asked that her story be told. 

At a news conference Monday in San Jose, Audrie's mother, Sheila Pott, said she and her ex-husband, Larry Pott, were working to persuade lawmakers to stiffen penalties in California for cyber-bullying and to treat juveniles as adults in some cases of sexual assault. 

"If this could happen to my daughter, this could happen to anyone," Sheila Pott said.

Related: California case another three-part tragedy of rape, cyber bullying and suicide

The three boys, whose names haven't been released because they are juveniles, were arrested last week and are expected to appear in court Tuesday. In a statement, their attorneys said: 

"Much of what has been reported over the last several days is inaccurate. Most disturbing is the attempt to link Audrey's suicide to the specific actions of these three boys." 

Audrie's name is misspelled in the statement.

On a website started by her family, Audrie is described as a gifted art student who played the viola and the piano. She was part of a middle school band that played for at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, it says.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled Friday at Saratoga High School.

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