Owen Labrie sentenced to year in jail in prep school sexual assault case

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘You are a very good liar’: Prep school student smirks during rape case sentencing as judge gives him just one year in jail and releases him on bail to appeal… but he will have to register as a sex offender for life.

The high-profile trial of Owen Labrie did not end in a rape conviction, but on Thursday the now 20-year-old was sentenced to one year in jail for having sex with an underage student while at prestigious St. Owen Labrie was a Harvard-bound student leader, a devout scholarship student and a role model, who also exchanged filthy, denigrating messages to his friends about the younger girls at his school, including about one particular 15-year-old girl. Owen Labrie, 20, will serve his sentence in a house of corrections instead of a state prison because his crimes were misdemeanors and he was acquitted on all felony charges. Paul’s School in June 2014 and was Harvard-bound when the then 18-year-old was arrested and charged with the rape of a 15-year-old girl at the school.

Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler also ordered Labrie, 20, to serve five years of probation after he gets out of jail and register as a sex offender, the Associated Press reports. Labrie, an aspiring divinity student, was acquitted of felony assault in August but was found guilty of three misdemeanors related to penetrative sexual assault, a misdemeanor for endangering the welfare of a child and a felony for using a computer to solicit a child under 16. Labrie had invited the girl on a Senior Salute, a tradition at the prep school in which seniors invite younger classmates to spend time together before graduation. The girl, who Reuters is not identifying, did not appear in court but gave a half-hour statement by video, saying she continued to struggle with the traumatic memory of the assault. “I don’t really know how to put one foot in front of another. Paul’s School’s “Senior Salute,” an alleged yearly practice in which upperclassmen purposefully seek out dates, sometimes involving sex, with younger students. “What he did to me made me feel like I didn’t belong on this planet, 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,” she said, according to the news station.

The defendant was a ringleader in this game.” “There is another side to Owen Labrie and I would assert on this occasion that the victim didn’t know about that other side,” she said. “She didn’t know she was a target on his list.” “Feign intimacy … then stab them in the back,” Ruffle said about a Facebook chat Labrie had with a friend before the alleged sexual assault. “I lie in bed with them… and pretend like I’m in love.” • Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? The question of what happened there was at the center of the trial—an innocent, but hot-and-heavy hookup as Labrie described, or a horrifying sexual assault that left the victim frozen and numb, as she testified.

Labrie, who was the only defense witness, testified that the encounter amounted to kissing and embracing in their underwear, and that it stopped well short of sex. 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, as Labrie sat staring straight ahead. In a video statement played in court Thursday, the freshman, now 17, said she now lives in constant fear of “everything and everyone” and was made to feel “she didn’t deserve to live.” “On one of my first days of school walking to a car and the entire boys varsity hockey team stood up and stared and pointed at me as I was walking alone down the street,” she said.

The court also heard from the victim’s mother, who decried the bullying she said their entire family have been subjected to at the hands of her daughter’s detractors, including having the girl’s photo and home address shared on social media. The prosecution had been seeking a stiffer sentence—up to 7 years—for the one-time soccer captain who had been accepted to Harvard where he had planned to study theology. Labrie had been cleared of felony rape charges, it was clear the sex “was not consensual.” The case 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. The defense argued for community service, saying the penalty paid had already been sufficient for what the defense called a “consensual encounter between two teenagers.” The defense team also filed a motion to dismiss the felony conviction because it was intended to punish much older sexual predators preying on young children. He argued that the felony computer crime of which Labrie was convicted is designed for sexual predators, not high school relationships, and that if Labrie had used a cellphone, he would not be facing lifetime registration. ‘His crucible over the past 18 months has provided powerful deterrence to Owen’s ever treating a woman with selfishness or disrespect, and it has given a clarion warning to other young men who have witnessed his fall from grace,’ Carney wrote.

The sentencing, in a packed, unseasonably warm courtroom reminiscent of the two weeks in August when the case was tried, detailed the disruption of two young lives 17 months ago. 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.’ Dr. Paul’s and has been living in almost constant fear since the assault. “The evidence was very clear this was not a date,” she said. “This was a mission for him. 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. Jurors reached their verdict after seven hours of deliberations last month and Labrie was seen sobbing in court as the guilty verdicts were read by the forewoman.

But they were misdemeanors, rather than felonies, because of New Hampshire’s Romeo and Juliet exemption, which gives lesser penalties when there are age differences of four years or less. Labrie testified the two 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. Though he pushed back his enrollment from the fall of 2014 because of the charges and trial, it remains unclear if Harvard has ever rescinded their offer of admission. ‘Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under certain conditions, which are clearly expressed to students upon their acceptance,’ Rachael Dane, a spokeswoman for Harvard, said in a statement. Labrie was able to afford Carney’s services it was revealed earlier this year by writing a letter to the parents of some of his classmates asking for help with his legal defense fund. Labrie acknowledged that his encounter with the girl was part of a “senior salute,” which he portrayed as a campus rite in which graduating seniors seek out younger classmates for trysts that can include sexual intercourse.

Paul’s, one of the nation’s most exclusive boarding schools, and illustrated how allegations of campus sexual assault are widening beyond the colleges and universities. Paul’s Rector Michael Hirschfeld said the school remains “committed to teaching our students our core values—that they live honorably, respectfully, and never forget to be kind.” In letters to the court, seeking leniency for Mr. He was raised in Tunbridge, Vt., by his mother, who is a public-school teacher, and his father, who is a landscaper and freelance editor, according to his lawyer.

The law “may need to be tweaked” because more is known now about how predators use the Internet, and how people use technology to communicate, said New Hampshire State Sen. Sharon Carson, a Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Sex crimes are difficult to craft punishments for, given that every incident can be different,” said Mr.

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