Prep school grad gets 1 year sentence in sex 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.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — In a case that scandalized an institution known for educating some of America’s top political and literary leaders, a graduate of an elite prep school was sentenced to a year in jail for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl as part of a sexual conquest competition. 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. Twenty-year-old Owen Labrie of Tunbridge, Vermont, on Thursday also was ordered to register as a sex offender for life in connection with the May 2014 assault at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. “A jury in August cleared him of rape and convicted him instead of misdemeanor sexual assault for having intercourse and other sexual contact with an underage girl,” the Associated Press reports. “He was also found guilty of a felony count of using a computer—specifically, Facebook and email—to lure the girl.” Labrie was 18 years old and the girl 15, at the time.

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. In a videotaped statement played in court Thursday, the girl, now 17, said she was subjected to verbal and physical retaliation from other students after her return to St. Labrie’s invitation to join him for a “senior salute,” a practice at the school in which younger students met with seniors for a romantic encounter just before graduation.

Labrie, an aspiring divinity student, could be seen crossing himself in a gesture of prayer as he waited for Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler to issue his sentence, which he did nearly three hours into the proceedings. Labrie, who denied having sex with the freshman, faced up to seven years in prison for the computer enticement felony, and a year on each of the misdemeanors. 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. Labrie’s arrest exposed a tradition at the $55,290-a-year boarding school called Senior Salute, in which upperclassmen kept score of how many younger students they had sex with.

The national media attention the case attracted tarnished the reputation of the exclusive school, whose alumni include Secretary of State John Kerry, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, at least 13 U.S. ambassadors and three Pulitzer Prize winners. Carney, had argued that probation would be a more appropriate punishment than prison, noting that Labrie had already lost a full scholarship to Harvard University and that his name would forever be associated with the case. “Owen decided to engage in a ‘senior salute.’ He has tremendous remorse for doing what he did,” Carney said. “Owen looked to St.

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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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