Convicted prep school grad had nixed lighter sentence deals

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Senior salute’ earns Labrie one year in jail and lifetime on sex offender registry.

A GRADUATE of an exclusive US private school was sentenced to a year in jail for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student as part of a tradition in which upperclassman competed to rack up sexual conquests.The mother of the victim in the New Hampshire prep school sex assault said that in speaking out against her attacker, Owen Labrie, her daughter just wanted to do what was right. Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler added that he believed Labrie was “not the angel as portrayed by your counsel” but nor was he “the devil as portrayed by the prosecution.” Labrie was originally charged with rape, accused of forcing himself on the girl in a nearly deserted academic building in 2014, just before his graduation.

Labrie’s case attracted national attention because of the alleged sexual culture at the elite St Paul’s school in New Hampshire, including a tradition known as the “Senior Salute, in which male seniors allegedly competed to have sexual encounters with younger female students. A jury in August cleared him of rape and convicted him instead of misdemeanour sexual assault for having intercourse and other sexual contact with an underage girl. The girl’s mother said her daughter was reluctant to accept Labrie’s invitation to meet up with him. “Her experience was extremely limited with young men and certainly zero with an 18-year-old man,” her mother said. “I know she regrets going.” In a statement delivered on air by her mother, the girl said she was compelled to tell her story. “Going through this legal process, I now understand why victims feel as if they can’t speak up, yet cannot see how I would have lived day-to-day life without telling the truth,” she said.

In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Today Show Friday, the victim’s mother, who had her face obscured to protect the identity of her daughter, said that participating in the trial had been excruciating for the teenage girl. He was also found guilty of a felony count of using a computer — specifically, Facebook and email — to lure the girl to the encounter on the grounds of the school where annual tuition costs $US55,000 ($77,000). During the sentencing the girl also spoke out via a videotaped statement. “What he did to me made me feel like I didn’t belong on this planet,” she said tearfully, “and that I would be better off dead than to deal every day with what was thrown in my direction after doing the right thing.” Labrie has denied ever having sex with the freshman girl. • Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Labrie’s arrest exposed a competition at the boarding school called the “Senior Salute”, in which upperclassmen kept score of how many younger students they had sex with.

— ACCUSED killer Daniel Holdom was found in possession of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson’s bank card more than four years after he allegedly murdered her in Belanglo State Forest. Smukler said in court on Thursday Labrie’s acquittal on forcible rape charges did not mean the 15-year-old had consented to sex, as she was too young to do so. — SENIOR US officials say a small number of US special operations forces will be deployed to northern Syria to work with local ground forces in the fight against Islamic State militants.

— ROMAN Polanski has avoided extradition after a Polish court rejected a bid to have the director brought to the US for the historic rape of a teen girl. Timothy O’Malley of the Concord Police Department told ABC News, “It’s not evident so far in our investigation that other students were intent on targeting underage females.” During the ensuing trial, Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle said the tradition could be used as a way for students “to be with someone that they might have wanted to be with throughout,” but that Labrie had been driven by competitiveness. While Labrie maintained that they did not have sex, his verbal and electronic communications to his classmates revealed a carefully-crafted trail of manipulation, with one intended final result. At the start of the punishment phase, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence the defendant to 3.5-7 years in prison for the felony count, as well as suspended sentences for the four misdemeanors, based upon completion of a sex offender program while incarcerated.

Labrie testified during the trial that he and the victim had consensual sexual contact that stopped short of intercourse, while his accuser broke down on the stand as she recounted all the ways she had allegedly been violated by the defendant. Paul’s, she stood up to the rape culture that exists in our society that allows boys to be boys and somehow says it is OK for men to do irreparable harm to girls,” he said. Labrie testified that the entire encounter was mutual, and that he decided against having sex after a moment of “divine inspiration.” Peter Schworm can be reached at

I said no three times.” But she also said, “I tried to be as polite as possible … I wanted to not cause a conflict…” She said it was painful and that “I felt like I was frozen.” And she admitted, “I didn’t want him to laugh at me. I didn’t want to offend him.” During a video statement to the court this week, she said, “I know why people don’t come forward and it kills me to say that.” In handing down his sentence Thursday, Judge Smukler said, “She was in over her head. That’s very clear.” The legal system is very slowly beginning to grasp that sexual assault is not always a clearcut case of a person kicking and screaming and pushing.

I have to recognize what you did to her when you committed the crime.” And he added to the young man who sweet talked a girl while bragging to his buddies, “Bluntly, if you did express remorse, I think it would have been dishonest.

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