Prep School Rape Trial Jury Reaches Verdict in Owen Labrie Case

28 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New Hampshire prep school senior found not guilty of raping freshman.

A former New Hampshire prep school senior was found not guilty of raping a 15-year-old freshman days before graduation during an unofficial tradition at the elite school known as a “senior salute”. Labrie, a top student and soccer player once headed for Harvard, claimed he took the girl to the roof of the St Paul’s school science center in Concord where he put on a condom during a consensual romantic encounter but decided against having sex. Nineteen-year-old Owen Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, faces nine charges, including three felony sex assault charges that carry sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison. The jury of nine men and three women heard testimony about the sexual culture at the insular boarding school, whose alumni include secretary of state John Kerry and Pulitzer prize-winner Garry Trudeau. Labrie of Turnbridge, Vermont, who attended the school on a scholarship, had been headed to Harvard on a full scholarship last year when he was indicted on rape charges.

He maintained his innocence from his first contact with police and rejected prosecutors’ offers of a plea agreement that would have required him to plead guilty to sexual penetration, according to his attorney JW Carney Jr. State prosecutor Joseph Cherniski told the jury Labrie “turned his lust for a 15-year-old girl into reality” in the dark attic of the science center and ignored her when she tried to pull him away from her genital area.

The Dean of Students from the school, Chad Green, testified he was aware of the Senior Salute tradition at St Paul and knew it could contain a sexual component. “I came to understand the Senior Salute as one element of a larger vernacular the kids at St Paul’s used to describe a wide range of relations between students,” Green said. He admitted he and a friend drew up a list of girls they wanted to “slay” during their waning months of high school but denied the term meant sexual intercourse. Minutes after the incident, she told friends, “I think I just had sex with Owen Labrie.” Labrie’s attorney Carney had accused the girl of falsely claiming rape after her sister confronted her about rumors the young girl had sex with Labrie, whom the sister had briefly dated.

Labrie fired several attorneys before hiring Carney, a Boston-based veteran criminal defense lawyer who represented notorious fugitive crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger.

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