Sexting, Shame and Suicide

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When Audrie's old middle-school friends, Kathy, Amanda Le and another girl, arrived around 9 p.m., there was no music, just the sound of sloppy-drunk talk. Audrie was already stumbling and incoherent, taking shots and making out with different boys on the living-room couch. Her friends were appalled. "I never saw, I had just heard about times she had gotten drunk," says Kathy. "She was so different than how I knew her to be. Because we were sober, we noticed everything that was going on, and they didn't know what they were doing."

Sara seemed so trashed when she greeted them at the door that Kathy doesn't think her classmate even recognized her. "There was stuff all over the tables," Kathy says. "Superdirty. They had food and a whole bunch of crap everywhere. People falling over, walking around. At some point, I was like, 'I feel superuncomfortable, everyone's so trashed and we are just sitting here.' So we left."

Police interviews with the partyers pieced together what allegedly happened next. One of the boys Audrie made out with was so drunk he started crying and screaming. He threw up in the kitchen sink – into which someone had already tossed Audrie's iPhone. Audrie was too blitzed to notice.

Then three boys she'd known since middle school – Bill, Joe and Ron – and one of their friends, Mary, helped her upstairs into a bedroom (the names of these four have been changed because of the boys' status in a juvenile case). Mary appears to have left the room when the boys started pulling off Audrie's clothes and drawing on her with Sharpies. In interviews with police later, they admitted, to varying degrees, coloring half of her face black, then pulling down her bra, taking off her shorts and drawing scribbles, lines and circles on her breasts and nipples. Bill wrote "anal" above her ass with an arrow pointing down.

At some point, Mary returned to find Audrie in her underwear and put a blanket over her, then left the room again. With Audrie still sprawled out on the bed and unresponsive, the boys allegedly fingered her and took pictures on their phones.

When she woke up the next morning, Audrie didn't know how she'd gotten into the bedroom or where her clothes were. Then she looked down and saw drawings all over her body, even near her genital area. She stumbled into the bathroom and ferociously scrubbed away the ink on her face. Since her iPhone was drowned in vomit in the kitchen sink, she had to borrow a friend's phone to call her mother.

"She called me to come get her, and I was surprised because it was earlier than usual," Sheila recalls. In the car and all that day, Audrie was pensive and quiet. They went to lunch at a restaurant and Audrie wouldn't eat. That afternoon, she locked herself in her bathroom for a long time, and then huddled with her computer in her bedroom. At dinnertime, Sheila stood beside her and noticed a green strip of ink on her daughter's cleavage.

"What's that?" she asked. Audrie brushed her off.

Back in her room, Audrie wasn't so nonchalant. She was engaged in a frantic attempt to discover what had happened to her body. She talked to Amanda on the phone and told her friend about waking up stripped and graffitied. Amanda couldn't give her any clues, other than to say she'd seemed very bombed.

Throughout the evening, she became more and more desperate, her agitation and the callousness of her friends evident in Facebook transcripts. At around 5 p.m., Audrie and one of the boys had the following exchange:

AUDRIE: joe i need to talk to u.
JOE: What
AUDRIE: one word
AUDRIE: marker
JOE: What about marker
AUDRIE: u know what im talking about.
JOE: Fucking Henry
AUDRIE: i dont remeber anything about that.
AUDRIE: Mary had to tell me everything
AUDRIE: i swear to god if u still have those pictures illl killl u
JOE: They are deleted and I didn't take them I promise it wasn't me
JOE: And I'm sorry about the marker

Audrie then messaged with another boy who'd been at the party, "Sam." He asked her, "Does he [Joe] still have any photos?"

AUDRIE: he said no but I think its BS
SAM: ur fine. . . . ill make sure nothing goes around
AUDRIE: it's gonna get out. Shit always does. Especially with the people who were there.

She was also on Facebook with "Josh." The news from him was not good.

JOSH: lol that shit gets around haha everyone knows mostly everything hahaah
AUDRIE: oh my god. . . . i fucking hate people.

That night, Audrie again confronted Joe on Facebook, accusing him of sharing the photos. Audrie wrote that the "whole school knows. . . . Do you know how people view me now? I fucked up and I can't do anything to fix it. . . . One of my best friends hates me. And I now have a reputation I can never get rid of."

Writing to another boy on Facebook, she said, "My life is over. . . . I ruined my life and I don't even remember how."

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