Sexual Assault Victim Faces Contempt Charge for Tweeting Names of Alleged Attackers

A Louisville teenager could be facing a contempt of court charge that carries a possible 180-day jail sentence and $500 fine after she violated the terms of a plea deal by tweeting the names of the two teenage boys who sexually assaulted her. Savannah Dietrich and her mother have insisted on talking about the case the publicly, in an effort, they say, to help ensure that Dietrich's attackers face some more serious consequences than the legal "slap on the wrist" Dietrich thinks they got as per their plea deal.

Dietrich told the Courier-Post's Jason Riley that she was assaulted in August of 2011 by two boys at a party. She later learned that pictures had been taken of the incident and disseminated among her peers.

For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn't go out in public places. You just sit there and wonder, who saw (the pictures), who knows?

On June 26, her attackers pled guilty to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism and struck a deal that Dietrich says she knew nothing about until just before it was announced in court. Floored by the apparent leniency (Dietrich has not been able to speak of the proposed punishment because of a court order) with which her attackers were treated, Dietrich tweeted their names, violating Judge Dee McDonald's admonishment to everyone at the hearing not to speak about the crime or about what happened in court. Dietrich subsequently wrote,

They [the court] said I can't talk about it or I'll be locked up. ....Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.

Thought Dietrich's attorneys have argued that her First Amendment rights should allow her to speak about her case to the media, Ohio media law specialist David Marburger told the AP that Dietrich should have tried to get the court to lift the gag order rather than simply violating it (apparently, court officials don't take too kindly to that sort of insurrection). Dietrich, however, feels like she needed to stand up for herself, since, in her estimation, the justice system failed to stand up for her.

Assault victim's tweets prompt contempt case [Courier-Journal]

Savannah Dietrich, 17-Year-Old Sexual Assault Victim, Faces Charge For Naming Attackers [AP via HuffPo]

Image via Kuzma/Shutterstock.