TODAY

TODAY   |  April 15, 2013

Parents of teen who committed suicide fight back

California 15-year-old Audrie Pott committed suicide just a week after a group of boys allegedly sexually assaulted her and posted photos online. Now, her parents are set to launch a wrongful death suit – and a campaign for tougher laws. NBC’s Natalie Morales reports.

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>>> but we begin this half hour with new details on the tragic death of a california girl who took her own life after she was allegedly assaulted by a group of her peers. natalie is back with that story.

>> good morning, savannah. before she died, 15-year-old audrie potts posted about her humiliation on facebook. now her parents are set for a wrongful death suit. online 15-year-old audrie potts lives on, a loving daughter but her family says eight days before committing suicide last september audrie was sexually attacked by three boys from her high school in saratoga, california.

>> at least one photograph was taken that was distributed to, in audrie's words, the whole school, showing her in a violated, exposed way.

>> her last week of life she posted her anguish on facebook. "i was asleep and people did [ expletive ] to me. the whole school knows. my life is like ruined now." her grieving parent also took to the web. ultimately she had not yet acquired the antibiotics to deal with the challenges present for teens in today's society. on friday police arrested the three boys now facing charges for sexual battery . lawyers for the boys told nbc news, "some of the statements made concerning this case have been greatly exaggerated." while the saratoga student newspaper reports only a handful of students had seen the photo experts say that is too many.

>> i think the young people are desensitized to sexual images of each other so to them it's just entertainment and they don't realize what they've done is take a picture of a crime scene.

>> reporter: it's not the first time social media has played a part in teens' sexual abuse and suicide. last month two steubenville, ohio, high school football players were found guilty of rape, a case where dozens of text messages and cell phone pictures provided the evidence. and in 2007 , 18-year-old tyler clemente a student at rutgers university , took his life after a roommate used a web cam to spy on him during a date with another man. later this morning, the attorney for audrie's parents say he will file a wrongful death suit against the three teens who were arrested.

>> the acts that they did were so heinous, we believe we'll clearly demonstrate that this is what went aud ri e over the edge .

>> and the boys are all considered juveniles. they head to court on tuesday. the same day that audrie's parents launch a campaign for audrie's law and tell us "the current laws are not a deterrent for 16 years old. these are not kids. these are young adults who need to face serious consequences for their behavior or these types of sexual assaults will continue."