A jury Friday acquitted 19-year-old Owen Labrie, a graduate of elite St. Paul’s prep school in New Hampshire, of felony sexual assault charges, but found him guilty of misdemeanor sex assault. Labrie had been accused of raping a 15-year-old fellow student in the school’s machine room last May. The AP reports the jury deliberated for eight hours.
BREAKING: Ex-senior at elite New Hampshire prep school acquitted of felony rape, guilty of misdemeanors.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 28, 2015
Labrie’s defense claimed he’d had a change of heart and stopped short of having sex with the girl.
The prosecution argued Labrie had coerced his victim into the situation in the first place as part of the “senior salute,” an annual sex contest where St. Paul’s senior boys compete to bed underclass girls. The defense claimed the encounter was consensual and that girls at the school considered it an honor to participate in the tradition.
His victim, now 16, ran out of the courtroom during his testimony.
Labrie had been charged with three felony counts, each carrying a maximum 20-year sentence, and a number of misdemeanors, including “misdemeanor sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and using a computer to solicit or lure a child under the age of 16.” The judge dropped one of two endangerment charges, leaving 6 misdemeanors total—he was found guilty of three of them.
Update, 2:30 p.m.: “Labrie was convicted of four misdemeanor counts: three sex assault counts and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was also convicted of a felony charge of using a computer to lure a minor for sexual contact,” the AP now reports, “He faces up to a year in jail for the misdemeanors and 3 ½ to 7 years for the felony.”
[Photo: AP Images]