Sentencing in Prep School Sexual Assault Case

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ex-student in New Hampshire prep school sex assault trial to be sentenced.

CONCORDE: A New Hampshire judge will determine on Thursday whether a former prep school student found guilty of having sex with an underage classmate will be sent to prison or serve probation. If New Hampshire Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler sentences 20-year-old Owen Labrie to jail today for his disastrous attempt to sustain the infamous “Senior Salute” tradition at St. Paul’s School student Owen Labrie, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow student, is recommending that Labrie receive probation at his sentencing hearing Thursday, saying “his punishment to date has been enormous.” In a sentencing motion filed Wednesday, J.W.

Carney Jr. said Labrie, 20, had “lost his dream” of attending Harvard University, and that his name would be “forever associated” with the case. Paul’s School, with former students discussing the tradition of a “senior salute,” in which final-year students invited underclassmen for sexual encounters.

He will also have to register as a sex offender. “He is certain to have a romantic relationship that suggests the possibility of marriage, and the day will come when he has to inform her that he is a registered sex offender,” Carney wrote. “Owen may have children who wonder why their father, who was such an accomplished soccer player, doesn’t volunteer to coach their teams.” Labrie can apply to be removed from the sex offender registry 15 years after his release. Labrie was found not guilty of three counts of felony rape against the teen, who was a 15-year-old freshman at the time of their encounter last year on the campus of their boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire. Paul’s “Senior Salute,” that quaint ritual where upperclassmen bid farewell to their prep school experience by trying to bed freshman females, was definitely one of the more salacious factoids to emerge from last summer’s trial.

He is slated to be sentenced Thursday on misdemeanor sexual assault charges involving a minor and a felony conviction for using a computer to lure a minor. He faces up to 11 years behind bars. “The harsh truth is that Owen will be penalized every single day hereafter for what he did one night as an 18-year-old high school student,” Carney wrote. “This should be enough punishment for the misdemeanors that are at the core of this sentencing. The media circus surrounding the trial shoved the victim unwillingly into the limelight, which may discourage other assault victims from reporting their crimes, they say.

Anything more would be cruel.” Carney also asked the court to give strong consideration to Labrie’s lack of criminal record, his youth, and his academic achievements. 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.”

Carney Jr., had appealed the conviction, saying the law was not intended to apply to teenagers making social plans, but it was upheld earlier this month. He holds them and comforts them and has even fallen asleep on the floor next to the crate of a frightened insecure pup so that it won’t be alone.” She said he had suicidal thoughts, and shook and sobbed uncontrollably following his questioning by detectives. He was acquitted of the most serious charge, felony rape. “This scarlet letter will even accompany him in retirement, where there will still be restrictions on where he can live, or what he can do with his grandchildren,” Carney wrote.

The family has been hounded by media ever since, she said, and her son is now building a post-and-beam chapel on his father’s land as an offering to God. In a split verdict, a jury in August acquitted Labrie of raping a 15-year-old girl in a secluded room on the elite private school’s campus in May 2014. If Owen Labrie happened to be the quintessential pampered prep-school puke, it would be a lot easier for me to argue that maybe he should get another kind of education behind bars for a few years. That evaluator said Labrie was at a low risk to reoffend, and that he should be in traditional psychotherapy, not “sex offender counseling” with other convicted rapists. The family-rated version of the “senior salute” involved seniors spending time with underclassmen they want to kiss, date or just get to know better prior to heading out to their prestigious universities.

The girl and her family went through “hell and back,” said Laura Dunn, who counseled the family as the director and founder of SurvJustice, an organization that works with victims of sexual assault. “She went through that grueling trial,” Dunn said. “She testified at great detail and at great personal expense … He really did commit sexual harm against the survivor and her life is forever changed.” A live stream from the trial inadvertently included the girl’s name when uttered by attorneys, which led to vicious message board postings about the girl and her family. Online trolls called her a liar and posted photos of her and real estate listings of the family’s home. “All those things make victims question whether or not it’s a good choice to go forward,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public policy for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence After witnessing how Labrie’s victim was treated, she has discussed with colleagues whether they would encourage their own children to report a sexual assault. “We’d hope that everyone who wants to go through the criminal justice system would be able to do so in a safe, secure way,” she said. “Now, I don’t think that’s the case.” New Hampshire’s sexual assault hotlines were flooded with more calls than normal during and right after the trial by victims who were triggered by the testimony, what they read in articles and saw on television, Grady Sexton said. “It really stood out to me that this jurisdiction in New Hampshire investigated [the assault] seriously and gave it the dignity and time and effort worthy of the heinousness of this crime,” she said. “The prosecutors shouldered the burden and took on this case, where a lot of other places would have just let it go.” Defense attorneys who watched the case noted the decision to have Labrie testify about what happened in that campus room and hope his words may give other teenagers pause. Paul’s classmate in New Jersey, working and sending money to his mother in Vermont, according to the memo. “His crucible over the past eighteen 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. And Labrie was pressed to explain a message sent to school chums describing the tradition in part as “an eight-week exercise in debauchery, a probing exploration of the innermost meanings of the word sleaze bag.” “We will move past this as a school community, stronger, united, and committed, as always, to ensuring our students’ safety and wellbeing,” school Rector Michael Hirschfeld said in a statement during the case. “Allegations about our culture are not emblematic of our school or our values, our rules, or the people that represent our student body, alumni, faculty, and staff.”

Paul’s student. “I have known Owen for almost four years and I can say unfalteringly that it has been a blessing to call this young man one of my closest and dearest friends.

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