Sexual Assault Victim Faces Jail for Naming Attackers

Savannah Dietrich fell unconscious after drinking at a party last August. While she lay unconscious, two teen boys she knew sexually assaulted her, videotaping the incident and distributing pictures on the internet.Now Dietrich faces jail time for naming her attackers on Twitter.

Dietrich, 17, who told the Louisville Courier-Journal that she wanted her name to be used openly, tweeted the names of her attackers after they accepted a plea deal that she felt was too lenient. “There you go, lock me up,” Dietrich said, after tweeting their names. “Im not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

Attorneys for the assailants then asked a Jefferson District Court Judge to hold Dietrich in contempt, for violating the confidentiality of the juvenile court hearing in which they pleaded guilty to felony first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism.

“I felt like they were given a very, very light deal,” Dietrich said. “I wasn’t happy with it, at all.”

Dietrich has asked for the media to be present at her July 30 contempt hearing, and has waived confidentiality in order to allow the media to cover her case. Both Dietrich’s attorneys and the Courier-Journal have filed requests to open the hearings, arguing that she has the First Amendment right to speak on the case and have her own case be covered publicly.

Dietrich was unable to give more details of the sentence, lest she run further afoul of the gag order put in place.

Emily Farrar-Crockett, one of Dietrich’s attorneys, said that Dietrich had been advised that even speaking to the media could put her in further legal jeopardy. “But she feels its important to speak out and chose to do so,” Farrar-Crockett said.

“I Cried Myself to Sleep”

Dietrich was assaulted at a party in August of 2011 by two boys that she knew. She had been drinking, and fell unconscious. While she was unconscious, the two boys assaulted her, taking video of the assault and sharing it with others. Months after the incident, Dietrich learned of the video, and of the assault.

“For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldnt go out in public places,” she said. “You just sit there and wonder, who saw, who knows?”

Dietrich and her parents reported the assault to police, and her attackers were arrested, and pleaded guilty. They were aghast at what they viewed as an extremely light sentence.

Following the plea, Judge Dee McDonald admonished everyone in the court not to speak about the sentencing or the crime in general.

“I was crying as she (the judge) was reading that, Dietrich told the s. They got off very easy … and they tell me to be quiet, just silencing me at the end.”

Dietrich says that she knows she could face jail for violating the court order, but that’s a price she’s willing to pay to share her story.

“Im at the point that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” she said.

Take Action: Sign a petition demanding justice for Savannah Dietrich.


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Image Credit: Brian Turner


ellen k.
ellen kelleher5 years ago

I! Want to know their names. And their addresses. And then I will post them. Payback's a bitch, ain't it boys...

Robert Petrozzi
Robert Petrozzi5 years ago

well done!

Aktahrul Azim
Aktahrul Azim5 years ago

i like sex

Judith Howard
Judith H5 years ago

This young woman should be commended for doing what she did. A travesty of justice and the system clearly sends a disturbing message to young boys, a vicious crime such as this is not taken seriously. Shame on the judge and justice system!

Lika S.
Lika P5 years ago

Ookay... So, being rapists carry a minor sentence, but a victim of that crime has to shut up or pay the consequences? This is why the system is messed up. It protects the criminals. How much justice is the criminal justice system, when the victim must be victimized repeatedly for having the crime go online, yet the perpetrators get to remain anonymous? That's bull.

Belinda E.
Belinda E5 years ago

I'm inclined to agree with Diane S--it's a drastic measure, but it would eliminate recidivism!

Possibly for a first offense it's a little extreme, if there were no aggravating factors (like physical injury, threats, or a history of stalking), but it ought to be mandatory for a second offense.

The only problem is, most men (including judges) set such store by their "jewels" that they can't bear the thought of being deprived of them--or depriving another man of them. They would sooner sentence a man to death than castration.

Harley Williams
Harley W5 years ago

I applaud Ms. Dietrich for her bravery in standing up for herself.

Dale Overall

Amazing, this judge used to be a social worker! She once worked with young people who had been neglected and abused.

Fascinating. Samantha Dietrich was a victim of rape. No excuse for rape not matter what the situation. Many teens get drunk and pass out. This is no invitation to commit any crime whatsoever.

Those assaulting her lost any rights for privacy when they raped and then publicized the video creating even more torment for the victim.

Slapping a contempt charge is a slap in the face for justice. These teens are criminals who need to be watched very closely and so many people need to know who they are.

Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Are you freaking kidding me.

John Hablinski
John Hablinski5 years ago

@ Kynthia R. I’m very pleased to hear there will not be any charges against this young lady. That, however, does nothing to resolve the intense contempt felt by the American people toward the sorry excuse for a judge, Dee McDonald. That woman has no aptitude for the law, and must step down from the bench immediately.