Former student at elite prep school convicted of sex charges

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As victim in prep-school case feared, the jury didn’t think she did enough.

The conviction of a former student at St. Owen Labrie, a prep school kid with Harvard aspirations, will have to register as a sex offender for convincing an underage schoolmate to have sex with him.Over three days of testimony, the now 16-year-old girl described her encounter with one of the more popular seniors on the campus of her elite New Hampshire prep school last year.

Paul’s of seniors like Labrie boasting about their plans to “slay” or bed as many younger female students as they could before departing for the Ivy League. Legal specialists said the jury’s verdict Friday showed the panel did not believe Owen Labrie’s claim that he did not have sexual intercourse with his accuser, but did not find that it was against the girl’s will. “Implicit in the jury verdict is they believed he was lying, but he wasn’t convicted of offenses where he engaged in sexual intercourse against her consent,” said Albert “Buzz” Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. A jury of nine men and three women took eight hours to reach its verdict in the case against Owen Labrie, who was accused of forcing himself on the girl in a dark and noisy mechanical room at St. The jury found Labrie guilty of five of nine counts he faced, including three misdemeanor sexual assaults that include allegations that he had intercourse with a minor who was too young to legally give consent, and a misdemeanor charge of endangering a child. Paul’s School, a highfalutin institution, will be remembered as a place that turned a blind eye to the sex-for-conquest culture that led to this whole sordid mess.

Legal experts said wearing frames are part of the regular, tried-and-true strategy of making a defendant look more sympathetic for a jury trial. “It’s part and parcel with wearing a coat and tie,” says Rosanna Cavallaro, a Suffolk University Law School professor teaching criminal law. “[Glasses] suggest that someone is intelligent, thoughtful, [and you can] extrapolate from there to sensitive, gentle.” The importance of defendants wearing glasses is nothing new: The New York Daily News picked up on the “nerd defense” back in 2011, citing defense attorneys in the Bronx. And that was pretty sad, considering that the prosecution, in its effort to defend the 15-year-old girl who claimed that Labrie raped her, referred to the Senior Salute as a matter of fact. During her 2013 murder trial, Jodi Arias memorably wore glasses while on the stand. (She later sold them in an online auction.) The glasses, and the physical appearance writ large, are important qualities to emphasize in a case of sexual assault, particularly one in which a jury has to reach the all-important decision of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Cavallaro said. “We ask the jury to evaluate people’s demeanor, and that word is a catchall for all these things,” she said. “[Jurors] pick up everything, including wearing glasses, a nice sports coat, or holding head up when speaking.” “[Jurors may ask,] ‘Is this the kind of person who would do this particular thing?’” Cavallaro said. “That’s not really what they should be deciding. He faces up to a year on each of the four misdemeanor counts and a maximum of seven years for the one felony count involving his use of a computer. “It’s going to be a tough sentencing decision for the judge,” said Scherr, adding the judge has the option of sentencing Labrie to no jail time at all. “What do you do with someone who has had the advantages [Labrie] has had, performed as highly as he has, yet engaged in this conduct and lied to the jury about it?” Rikki Klieman, a Boston attorney and CBS News legal analyst who has followed the case closely, said that although the law involving the computer applies to Labrie, “it was not meant for this kind of situation.” She said the law is generally used to target pedophiles who troll for victims on the Internet, not for teenagers who are convicted of what is commonly referred to as statutory rape.

He wept upon hearing the verdict, and then, as his lawyers conferred with the judge, sat alone at the defense table, shaking his head slightly and looking up at the ceiling. He wasn’t getting the message when she pulled her bra strap back on, held onto her underpants, pulled his head away from between her legs as she said no repeatedly, she said. She said she winced and stiffened as he penetrated her. “If I had just been able to kick or yell at him,” she testified. “If I just had been able to get the point across. I also found a certain strange, poetic symmetry about having Whitey Bulger’s lawyer, the always-entertaining Jay Carney, pulling Labrie’s backside out of what could well have been a very, very big fire.

I could have stopped it.” The jurors believed Labrie had sex with her, despite his day of testimony where he claimed over and over that he never did anything more than kiss the girl and maybe grind up on her. Its alumni include Secretary of State John Kerry, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau, at least 13 U.S. ambassadors, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and sons of the Astor and Kennedy families.

For some reason, I keep seeing the last scene in “Animal House,” when a depraved John Belushi rides off after he’s destroyed a whole town, and we’re told Bluto Blutarsky became U.S. I would not be surprised if, sometime after Labrie does his time (assuming he does), he arrives in Cambridge to begin his exploration of the deeper truths of theology. She needed to have shown by “speech and/or conduct that she did not freely consent.” He needed to have caught her by surprise, before she could flee. It’s difficult to know whether the nine women and three men on the jury thought that he sex between Labrie and the girl was consensual—but still illegal—or if they believed Labrie when he said he honestly didn’t know the girl was terrified and unwilling. She called him an angel and a gem. “The victim made her lack of consent more than clear, by saying no not once, not twice, but three times,” said Lyn M.

Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “This young victim’s reactions during and after the rape were the natural consequences of fear and trauma.” Even in New Hampshire, where prosecutors don’t have to prove a suspect used force on a victim, only that the victim indicated that he or she was unwilling, the measures the young girl took couldn’t convince the jury. “I couldn’t believe that that had just happened to me,” the girl said. “I couldn’t believe I had let it happen ..

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