A US teen is currently facing a contempt of court charge, which could see her carry out a 180 day prison sentence, because she tweeted the names of two boys who sexually assaulted her.
Savannah Dietrich was assaulted back in August 2011 and since then the two boys pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism, before striking a deal with the judge.
Although no one has been able to reveal the exact details of the deal, Dietrich and her family believe the plea bargain has been far too lenient, which led her to talk about the case publicly on Twitter in an attempt to ensure the attackers faced more serious consequences in the future.
Dietrich tweeted the names of the two boys and then said, “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.” She’s now facing the contempt charge because she violated the confidentiality of the juvenile hearing, which could now see her serve a 180 day prison sentence and pay a $500 fine.
The case has caused a huge stir and as you can imagine opinions have really been divided. There have been many professional views published online over the past few days (we don’t care about the victim blaming trolls, yes, that’s happening *voms*), with some saying she should never have violated the confidentiality of the court regardless of the medium and others claiming her First Amendment rights should allow her to talk about the details of the case more freely.
Dietrich’s case could certainly set a precedent for any future incidents that bring freedom of speech online into question, but regardless of the outcome she’s standing by her decision to name her attackers publicly, saying, “I’m at the point that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it.”