As Owen Labrie Faces Sentencing, Court Records Reveal New Details of Prep …

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ex-student in New Hampshire prep school sex assault trial to be sentenced.

A former New Hampshire prep-school student cleared of raping an underage classmate, but convicted of lesser charges, will be sentenced Thursday in Concord, N.H. CONCORD, N.H. – The lawyer for the graduate of an elite New Hampshire prep school who was convicted of sexually assaulting a younger student as part of a sordid campus practice of sexual conquest is using letters from his parents and classmates in a plea for probation instead of prison.If New Hampshire Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler sentences 20-year-old Owen Labrie to jail today for his disastrous attempt to sustain the infamous “Senior Salute” tradition at St. Owen Labrie, 20, faces lifetime registration as a sex offender in a case that is stirring debate over whether computer-related laws intended to stop adults preying on minors are stretched too far when used to police the increasingly digital way college and high-school students communicate. Owen Labrie, now 20, faces a possible 11-year sentence for his conviction on three misdemeanor counts of sex with a 15-year-old and one felony count of using the internet to arrange a secret encounter on the campus of St Paul’s school in Concord, New Hampshire. “The harsh truth is that Owen will be penalized every single day hereafter for what he did one night as an 18-year-old high school student,” his attorney JW Carney Jr said in a motion asking the judge for probation.

Paul’s School, with former students discussing the tradition of a “senior salute,” in which final-year students invited underclassmen for sexual encounters. The victim in the case, who was a freshman at St Paul’s and no longer attends the school, tearfully testified for two days about a romantic encounter she said spun out of control. Paul’s “Senior Salute,” that quaint ritual where upperclassmen bid farewell to their prep school experience by trying to bed freshman females, was definitely one of the more salacious factoids to emerge from last summer’s trial.

Carney, called lifetime sex-offender registration “cruel” and a “scarlet letter,” and asked for probation at the sentencing at Merrimack County Superior Court. The jury heard testimony about the sexual culture at the insular boarding school, whose alumni include the secretary of state, John Kerry, and Pulitzer prize-winner Garry Trudeau. Carney’s memo includes photos of Labrie as a boy and written pleas for leniency from former teachers and classmates, as well as a reverend who praised his extraordinary “depth of theological and spiritual curiosity.” Carney Jr., had appealed the conviction, saying the law was not intended to apply to teenagers making social plans, but it was upheld earlier this month. He holds them and comforts them and has even fallen asleep on the floor next to the crate of a frightened insecure pup so that it won’t be alone.” She said he had suicidal thoughts, and shook and sobbed uncontrollably following his questioning by detectives.

Edmund Piper, a clinical psychologist who has been treating Labrie for 13 months, called him “remarkable” and “mature beyond his years intellectually and responsibility-wise.” A former female classmate called him “the kindest, most brilliant and most authentic friend I have,” adding that his conviction has not changed her opinion. The family has been hounded by media ever since, she said, and her son is now building a post-and-beam chapel on his father’s land as an offering to God.

He admitted he and a friend drew up a list of girls they wanted to “slay” during their waning months of high school but denied the term meant sexual intercourse. If Owen Labrie happened to be the quintessential pampered prep-school puke, it would be a lot easier for me to argue that maybe he should get another kind of education behind bars for a few years.

They were misdemeanors, rather than felonies, because of New Hampshire’s Romeo and Juliet exemption, which accounts for age differences of four years or less. Labrie, who had planned to study religion at Harvard and testified in his own defense, told the jury he “thought [the victim] was having a great time”. The felony carries up to seven years in prison and requires sex-offender registration for life. “I was shocked when the verdict was announced,” said New Hampshire State Rep. Paul’s student. “I have known Owen for almost four years and I can say unfalteringly that it has been a blessing to call this young man one of my closest and dearest friends. Labrie behaved like a predator when he used a computer to arrange the encounter, in which he led her to a secluded room at the top of a math and science building on St.

Labrie worked two jobs – doing research in a law office and for a marketing firm – following his arrest so he could help his mother pay her mortgage, according to one letter sent to the judge. He lived with the parents of a friend in New Jersey because his mother had spent all of her money on his defense then and could not afford food, according to the letter from Michele Finizio, whose own son graduated from St Paul’s in 2011. “Admittedly he was only making a couple hundred dollars a week, but for him it meant the world. Labrie’s punishment aren’t unusual, the outcome points to a larger discussion about whether sex-offender laws are in line with the rapid increase in technology for communication, particularly among younger people. “It’s something lawmakers are going to have to confront,” said Cynthia Calkins, an associate professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has criticized sex-offender laws as being brought to scale without sufficient empirical evidence. If you want to punish Owen Labrie, have him spend a couple of years working with victims of sexual assault, listening to their stories, realizing their pain.

The girl testified that the sexual contact started as consensual and then advanced to intercourse despite her saying “no.” Both sides have support. Welch, who is vice chairman of the House’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said Wednesday that he planned to contact his committee members about “whether or not there should be a correction” to the law.

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