Owen Labrie, Former Student at Elite Prep School, Acquitted of Felony Sexual …

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Former prep school student acquitted of felony rape but convicted of lesser sex offenses.

A prep school graduate accused of raping a younger student at the elite St. CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A graduate of an exclusive New England prep school was cleared of rape but convicted Friday of lesser sex offenses against a 15-year-old freshman girl in a case that exposed a tradition in which seniors competed to see how many younger students they could have sex with. The lawyer also decried Labrie’s felony conviction for using a computer to lure a minor, saying he’s sure the Legislature never intended for it to be applied to teens arranging a date. Labrie, who was bound for Harvard and planned to take divinity classes before his arrest put everything on hold, could get as much as 11 years in prison at sentencing Oct. 29.

So ended the trial of Owen Labrie, 19, and with it a rare exploration of the backslapping sexual culture among some students at one of the nation’s most exclusive boarding schools. Nineteen-year-old Owen Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, was acquitted Friday of three felony rape charges but convicted of three misdemeanor sexual assault charges. For nearly two weeks, jurors listened to prosecutors and defence lawyers ask witnesses about a custom called the “senior salute,” in which older students at St.

Owen Labrie talks with one of his attorneys Jaye Rancourt, right, as his parents Denise Holland and Cannon Labrie talk in the lobby as they wait outside the courtroom for the verdict in his trial at Merrimack County Superior Court on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 in Concord, N.H. The jury by its verdict Friday signaled they didn’t believe Labrie’s assertions that he and the girl didn’t have intercourse but also didn’t believe her contention that it was against her will. 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. A girl who accused a former senior at their New Hampshire prep school of raping her says in a statement that a measure of justice has been served with the mixed verdict. But at its core, the case was about an intimate encounter between a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old acquaintance, and whether she consented as it escalated.

The school says the 16-year-old girl’s “resolve and unwavering commitment to the truth have been inspiring” to many inside and outside of the school community. The family said the conviction forces Labrie to “take ownership for his actions and gives him the opportunity to reflect upon the harm he has caused.” But the family added: “We still feel betrayed that St. 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. We trusted the school to protect her and it failed us.” The scandal cast a harsh light on the 159-year-old boarding school that has long been a training ground for politicians, Nobel laureates, corporate executives and other members of the country’s elite. The mixture of convictions and acquittals suggests that the jury believed that the two had had sex, but that prosecutors had not proved that the girl had failed to consent.

In graphic and sometimes tearful testimony, the girl, now 16, said she willingly went with Labrie to the rooftop of an academic building after he invited her to take part in Senior Salute, a tradition she said she knew about. On May 30, 2014, the pair went up to the roof of a tall building to take in a view of the whole campus, and then to a room below where, with machinery whirring around them, they began to kiss. The girl, who testified for one full day last week, and parts of two more, said she had been penetrated by Labrie’s fingers, tongue and penis, and that it had been rape. In 1995, the state adopted language providing that guilt for sexual assault could be found if someone sexually penetrates another person when “the victim indicates by speech or conduct that there is not freely given consent.” To make its case that no rape occurred – and that there was consent for what did happen – the defence called a sole witness: Mr.

When questioned about breezy email and Facebook exchanges that she had with Labrie in the hours afterward, she explained that she kept the conversation light because she was trying to find out whether he had worn a condom. After Labrie’s arrest, school officials said they would expel anyone participating “in any game, ‘tradition,’ or practice of sexual solicitation or sexual conquest under any name” and throw out those possessing keys or access cards they aren’t entitled to. The school, which first admitted girls in 1971 and has about 530 students, also brought in experts to discuss topics including substance abuse, harassment and building healthy relationships.

Hirschfeld commended “the remarkable moral courage and strength demonstrated by the young woman who has suffered through this nightmare,” and said the prep school is committed to teaching its students to act honorably. Still, it was the girl’s graphic and emotional testimony, in which she told the jury that more than once she had said no, but then felt frozen, that dominated the case. “I was raped,” she said at one point, sobbing on the stand, under cross-examination by Mr. Paul’s School was a character in the trial, too, depicted by both sides as a bucolic educational haven with a troubling culture of sex, entitlement and misogyny wrapped up in tradition. Repeatedly, the prosecution and defence pressed witnesses for details on the senior salute, asking the students who took the stand to define it and the words they used – such as “score,” “slay” and “pork” – in e-mails that described dating and hooking up. “St.

He described the school as a place where boys, living away from their parents, under the watch of an elite old institution, felt pressure to act like studs. Paul’s,” Joseph Cherniske, an assistant county attorney, said in his closing argument. “It was the defendant who manipulated that culture.” The jury heard troves of evidence, but never broad discussion about the meaning of consent.

It also did not hear testimony about how rape victims, especially those suffering from rape trauma syndrome, typically behave: a government witness prepared to speak on those matters was stricken from the list after a motion by the defence. Carney said his client was just bowing to the pressure of the macho culture around him, one in which his friends rushed to high-five him for the encounter the same night it happened. Labrie said he briefly dated – found out. “She had to make a decision, whether it would be her reputation that went into the toilet, or Owen’s,” Mr.

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