Savannah Dietrich back in court, parents speak out for the first time

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by Adam Walser

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 31 at 6:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Savannah Dietrich was back in court Friday with her attorney hoping to get the prosecutor removed from the sexual abuse case. It was one of the first times a juvenile hearing in Jefferson County has been open to the media and was also the first time we've heard from the girl's parents.
 
“We've had a lot of sleepless nights. It's monopolized our time,” said Sharon Dietrich, Savannah’s  mother.
 
“These things are very difficult on a lot of different levels. It's been a complex issue,” said Michael Dietrich, Savannah’s father.
 
The parents made those comments outside a Jefferson County Juvenile Courtroom.
 
17-year-old Savannah used her Twitter account helped pull back the cloak of secrecy from the juvenile justice process in Kentucky.
 
A television camera was allowed in what would normally be a closed juvenile hearing.
 
Judge Angela McCormick Bisig also opened the case file, allowing more than a thousand documents related to a sexual assault to be viewed by the public.
 
“I had no objections to the proceedings being open, so that there is light and transparency on what went on. I think it's a good thing,” said Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell.
 
The case made national news after Savannah tweeted the names of her two juvenile attackers and attacks on the juvenile justice process earlier this summer.
 
The boys agreed to plead guilty after they admitted they sexually abused Savannah while she was unconscious at a party, then took nude pictures of her which they showed to their friends.
 
Savannah wanted the prosecutor kicked of the case, after claiming unfair treatment, but the judge ruled she wasn't entitled to make that motion.
 
“Our victim in the case has a right to inform this court and raise concerns about her position on the ultimate disposition,” said Judge Angela McCormick Bisig.
 
“At first, it was just what I wanted to say to the boys and how I felt. Now, it's gotten to the point where I'm going to have to talk about how the courts handled it and unjust things that happened to me,” said Savannah.
 
Savannah's parents made their first comments to the media Friday.
 
“She recognized things that weren't right. And she spoke up. And because she spoke up, it went national. And a lot of victims are offering her support,” said Sharon Dietrich.
 
“In the long run, it will probably benefit a lot of people and Savannah's getting some benefit from that as well,” said Michael Dietrich.
 
Savannah will be allowed to address the court when the two boys are sentenced on September 14. The judge, at that time, will decide whether to accept the plea agreement or schedule the case for trial.
 

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