Judge makes court records public in sexual assault case


by WHAS11


Posted on August 28, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 28 at 6:46 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Jefferson County judge has opened the records of a juvenile court case against two Louisville teenagers who pleaded guilty to charges of sex abuse. The case is making national headlines and the girl in the middle of it all is sharing her thoughts.
WHAS11 sat down and talked to 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich after a judge made an order to open juvenile court records in her sexual assault case.

"I'm just so glad I can share my story and shed some light light on things. I hope this will never happen to someone else again or another victim to be put in a position like this," said Dietrich.

The court documents contain a judge's opinion  and order, naming the teenage boys. The information is graphic and involves young people so we decided to not reveal the details.
Judge Angela McCormick had this to say in the opinion:

"The very idea that a young victim of sexual assault would find the courage to tell her story and come to court, only to have no one listen to her, explain to her what is happening, and then to have the parties reach some type of deal without her input is abhorrent. The public would and should cry 'foul'"

A plea deal was made after the boys admitted to felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism. Dietrich's teenage attackers were on house arrest but she says they were allowed to visit colleges.
"They called their social worker and the social worker didn't have the papers in front of them and said they could go to prom," said Dietrich.

Her lawyers say the punishment did not fit the crime.  "They're to do 50 hours of volunteer work for a sexual offense. That was insulting to Savannah as well. They're allowed to have diversion at the age of 19 and a half and move to set aside their plea of guilty and have their record completely expunged," said Lawyer, Emily Farrar-Crockett.
Dietrich had already posted a number of messages on Twitter about what happened to her. She says they exposed her private parts and took indecent photos after she passed out from a night of underage drinking.

Now Dietrich is upset at the lenient plea deal and the question remains of whether the boys will receive treatment for being sexual offenders. On August 31, her lawyers will request that the Jefferson County Attorney's Office be removed from the case because of prejudice.
"Clearly as a crime victim she has rights and that includes rights to address the court on the feelings regarding her disposition," said Thomas Clay, Dietrich's Attorney.
One of the boy's lawyers says that they have appealed the judge's ruling and threw-in an emergency injunction. They want any remaining files to remain confidential.

The boys' official sentencing in juvenile court is September 14 and Dietrich plans on speaking out that day.