Owen Labrie, St. Paul’s Student Accused of Rape, Takes the Stand

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Owen Labrie, St. Paul’s Student Accused of Rape, Takes the Stand.

CONCORD, N.H. CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The latest on the trial of a former student at an elite prep school accused of raping a freshman as part of a tradition called Senior Salute (all times local): An underclassman who says a senior at their elite New Hampshire prep school raped her two days before he graduated has left the courtroom in tears as he began reading from emails they exchanged just before their encounter.

Paul’s, an exclusive New England boarding school, took the stand on Wednesday, presenting himself as a model of virtue — a high-achieving soccer captain who won an award for his character before graduating last year. Prosecutors have argued that the so-called “Senior Salute,” in which male and female upperclassmen attempt to hook up with younger students before graduating, helped create conditions for the girl’s alleged rape on campus. As the girl who has accused him of rape watched from the front row alongside members of her family, Owen Labrie, 19, began his testimony by calmly telling the jury that he was not a wealthy boarding school student, noting that he was a child of divorce who would never have been able to attend St. Labrie, who was charged on nine counts, has maintained that a “divine intervention” stopped him from going all the way during his Senior Salute with the accuser. He is expected to take the stand Wednesday to offer his side of the story in a case that has shaken this small community and shone a spotlight on campus culture at one of the country’s most prestigious boarding schools.

But on the fifth day of the high-profile trial, the defense team’s stubborn insistence that Labrie didn’t have sex with the now 16-year-old girl appears to have weakened his case. During technical testimony Tuesday from a state forensics expert, jurors heard about a DNA test on underwear worn by the accuser on the night of the incident.

He emphasized that his relationship with his accuser before the encounter was nothing out of the ordinary, calling it “pretty flirty, nothing serious.” He said a list of girls he and a friend put together a few months before graduation was simply a way to identify “girls that we thought were cute.” And, he said, “score” — a term he often used, according to previous testimony — did not necessarily suggest sex, but rather, should be interpreted as “synonymous with dating.” The upbeat self-portrait Mr. In one exchange, the girl says Labrie’s plan to meet “sounds perfect.” Last week, Labrie’s accuser testified that she twice told him “no” during their encounter and that she felt “frozen” when he became aggressive.

Labrie presented on Wednesday at the beginning of his testimony broadened his image and clarified his background, highlighting his achievements, including plans to attend Harvard and possibly become a minister. Other students testified this week that Labrie — then 18 — was competing with friends to see how many girls they could “score” with before graduation and described a range of sexual encounters from kissing to intercourse that were part of Senior Salute.

They said Labrie gave no indication that the sex wasn’t consensual, and all agreed that students frequently exaggerate their sexual escapades when discussing them with peers. Another expert, Kevin McMahon, said that he had earlier discovered a “strong indication” of semen in a panel of the underwear, and sent the evidence off to Swango for the DNA testing. Labrie read aloud messages they had exchanged. “Welcome to an eight-week exercise in debauchery, a probing exploration of the innermost meanings of the word sleaze bag,” Mr. Carney suggested police had treated his client unfairly, trying to catch him off-guard by driving to Vermont to interview him and speaking to him without his parents present. Reporting on Monday’s proceedings, the Boston Globe cited witness evidence from Andrew Thomson, Labrie’s former roommate at the elite prep school; Tucker Marchese, Malcolm Solovaara, and Henry Kremer, three other former students who were friends with Labrie; and a current St.

Investigators first met Labrie and his mother at a coffee shop, but after detectives said it would be better to talk at the police station, he agreed to be interviewed without his mother for nearly four hours. Paul’s School, which boasts as alumni an international roster of senators, congressmen, ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates and other notables. Prosecutors showed Facebook messages in May 2014 between Labrie and another friend, Tucker Marchese, who pressed for details about Labrie’s Senior Salute: “How’d it go from no to bone?” Labrie replied: “Just pulled every trick in the book.” But Solovaara had previously told investigators the opposite, and the judge reportedly told jurors that they could use this evidence to assess his credibility.

The court has so far heard testimony from 16 witnesses, including the accuser, her best friend, her mother, two nurses, a doctor, and the dean of students. Labrie was arrested and charged last summer with several counts of felony sex assault, misdemeanor sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and using a computer to solicit or lure a child under the age of 16.

Labrie had invited the girl for a so-called senior salute — a custom among some students at the all-residential boarding school in which students in their final year would invite a younger student to join them for a walk, a kiss, or more. She also said she’d sought the morning after pill from the school nurse, and that when asked if their sex was consensual, she’d answered yes. (The nurse confirmed this in her own testimony.) “It was so much easier,” the accuser told the court, explaining that she was in a rush to save seats for her sister’s graduation when she went to the nurse’s office. A hospital nurse who examined the girl two days after their encounter, administering the rape kit, testified that the girl had redness in her vagina that could be consistent with an assault, but could also be the result of non-sexual irritation. By the end of last week, the court had seen minimal evidence beyond the accuser’s testimony (as well as that of her mother and friend) that her encounter with Labrie was not consensual. Concord Police Detective Julie Curtin, who first interrogated Labrie, said authorities were able to access more than 100 messages he had deleted from his Facebook account, which might suggest he had something to hide.

The school rector, Mike Hirschfeld, told students in a letter last summer that participating in games involving sexual solicitation would be grounds for expulsion, and has said in a statement that allegations about the culture at St. Labrie wrote that the “thing” with the girl “will blow over,” adding, “Denied until I die tonight.” Detective Curtin said when she asked Mr.

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