Prosecutor St. Paul’s School rape trial: Case highlights need for sexual …

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As victim in prep-school case feared, the jury didn’t think she did enough.

The conviction of a former student at St. On Friday, a jury found former New Hampshire prep school student Owen Labrie not guilty of felony rape—but also convicted him of several lesser charges.Owen Labrie, a prep school kid with Harvard aspirations, will have to register as a sex offender for convincing an underage schoolmate to have sex with him.

Paul’s of seniors like Labrie boasting about their plans to “slay” or bed as many younger female students as they could before departing for the Ivy League. Legal specialists said the jury’s verdict Friday showed the panel did not believe Owen Labrie’s claim that he did not have sexual intercourse with his accuser, but did not find that it was against the girl’s will. “Implicit in the jury verdict is they believed he was lying, but he wasn’t convicted of offenses where he engaged in sexual intercourse against her consent,” said Albert “Buzz” Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Paul’s School dropped his head and sobbed for the first time since the start of his trial: He had been found not guilty on Friday of felony sexual assault charges, but was convicted of having sex with a girl who was below the age of consent. The jury found Labrie guilty of five of nine counts he faced, including three misdemeanor sexual assaults that include allegations that he had intercourse with a minor who was too young to legally give consent, and a misdemeanor charge of endangering a child. Paul’s School, a highfalutin institution, will be remembered as a place that turned a blind eye to the sex-for-conquest culture that led to this whole sordid mess.

And that was pretty sad, considering that the prosecution, in its effort to defend the 15-year-old girl who claimed that Labrie raped her, referred to the Senior Salute as a matter of fact. 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. He faces up to a year on each of the four misdemeanor counts and a maximum of seven years for the one felony count involving his use of a computer. “It’s going to be a tough sentencing decision for the judge,” said Scherr, adding the judge has the option of sentencing Labrie to no jail time at all. “What do you do with someone who has had the advantages [Labrie] has had, performed as highly as he has, yet engaged in this conduct and lied to the jury about it?” Rikki Klieman, a Boston attorney and CBS News legal analyst who has followed the case closely, said that although the law involving the computer applies to Labrie, “it was not meant for this kind of situation.” She said the law is generally used to target pedophiles who troll for victims on the Internet, not for teenagers who are convicted of what is commonly referred to as statutory rape. He wasn’t getting the message when she pulled her bra strap back on, held onto her underpants, pulled his head away from between her legs as she said no repeatedly, she said.

Over nearly two weeks, jurors listened to prosecutors and defense lawyers ask witnesses about a custom called the “senior salute,” in which older students at St. She said she winced and stiffened as he penetrated her. “If I had just been able to kick or yell at him,” she testified. “If I just had been able to get the point across. I also found a certain strange, poetic symmetry about having Whitey Bulger’s lawyer, the always-entertaining Jay Carney, pulling Labrie’s backside out of what could well have been a very, very big fire.

But at its core, the case was about an intimate encounter last year between a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old acquaintance, and whether she consented as it escalated. I could have stopped it.” The jurors believed Labrie had sex with her, despite his day of testimony where he claimed over and over that he never did anything more than kiss the girl and maybe grind up on her. Paul’s said in a statement that this isn’t a tradition, and the salute “describes a wide range of behaviors.” The victim’s parents didn’t buy it and said in a statement that the school “fostered a toxic culture that left our daughter and other students at risk to sexual violence.” “The school came off looking the worst here, really,” said Phil Tracy, a criminal defense attorney not involved in the case. “There are no winners, but they are the biggest loser here.” For some reason, I keep seeing the last scene in “Animal House,” when a depraved John Belushi rides off after he’s destroyed a whole town, and we’re told Bluto Blutarsky became U.S.

The nine men and three women rejected the more serious accusations of aggravated sexual assault, as well as a misdemeanor assault charge of biting the girl’s chest, but convicted Mr. She needed to have shown by “speech and/or conduct that she did not freely consent.” He needed to have caught her by surprise, before she could flee.

It’s difficult to know whether the nine women and three men on the jury thought that he sex between Labrie and the girl was consensual—but still illegal—or if they believed Labrie when he said he honestly didn’t know the girl was terrified and unwilling. If you have penetrative consensual sex with an individual between ages 13 and 16 but are within four years of age, you are guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault.

She called him an angel and a gem. “The victim made her lack of consent more than clear, by saying no not once, not twice, but three times,” said Lyn M. Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “This young victim’s reactions during and after the rape were the natural consequences of fear and trauma.” Even in New Hampshire, where prosecutors don’t have to prove a suspect used force on a victim, only that the victim indicated that he or she was unwilling, the measures the young girl took couldn’t convince the jury. “I couldn’t believe that that had just happened to me,” the girl said. “I couldn’t believe I had let it happen ..

Carney Jr., dismissed that conviction as a misapplication of a law intended to focus not on teenagers’ emails but rather on older adults luring minors. Still, it was the girl’s graphic and emotional testimony, in which she told the jury that she had said “no” more than once but then felt frozen, that opened the trial and dominated the case. Paul’s School was a character in the trial, too, depicted by both sides as an educational haven with a troubling culture of sex, entitlement and misogyny, although some alumni have said they do not recognize the picture painted in court. There was no testimony about the definition of consent or about how victims of rape and the accompanying trauma typically behave: A possible government witness prepared to speak on those matters was stricken from the list after a defense motion.

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