US teen facing contempt charges for tweeting names of attackers

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A Kentucky teenager is facing contempt of court charges for tweeting the names of the two teens who pled guilty to sexually assaulting her, in a case that inspires questions about the uses of social media in the legal system.

Seventeen-year-old Savanna Dietrich tweeted the names of the boys in response to the frustration she felt over her attackers plea bargain.

Now, Dietrich could face an US$500 fine and up to 180 days in jail for the act if she is found guilty of being in contempt of the court.

Her contempt hearing is scheduled for July 30.

According to Dietrich, the sexual assault occurred when she passed out at a party last year. Her attackers then molested her, and they also allegedly videotaped the incident and shared it with their friends online.

After Dietrich visited police with her parents, the juvenile defendants were charged with first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism, reports the Louisville Courier Journal.

But Dietrich says she was extremely unhappy with the "slap on the wrist" plea bargain her attackers were given. Enraged, she took to her Twitter account determined to publicly expose the boys for their act.

"They said I can't talk about it or I'll be locked up," one of her tweets read. "So I'm waiting for them to read this and lock me up. ---- justice.

"Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville."

She reiterated in a Courier Journal interview that she was fully prepared to pay the price for her actions.

"I'm at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it," Dietrich told the Louisville paper.

"If they really feel it's necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me ... as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don't understand justice."

The courtroom repercussions of Twitter use have made the news before: in April, a New York judge ruled that prosecutors do not need to obtain a warrant to subpoena citizens Twitter accounts, reported Mashable.com.

-AAP

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