CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A young man accused of raping a fellow student at an elite prep school in New Hampshire is set to testify in a trial that has exposed a campus tradition of sexual conquest.
Owen Labrie, 19, of Tunbridge, Vermont, is charged with multiple felonies. Prosecutors say he was 18 years old and two days away from graduation last year when he raped a 15-year-old girl in a building on the grounds of St. Paul’s School in Concord as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to “score” with underclassmen. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact.
Last week, Labrie’s accuser testified that she twice told him “no” during their encounter and that she felt “frozen” when he became aggressive. Other students testified this week that Labrie was competing with friends to see how many girls they could “score” with before graduation and described a range of sexual encounters from kissing to intercourse that were part of Senior Salute. One said Labrie initially told friends “with a smirk on his face” that he did not have sex with the girl but later told him privately that he did.
On Tuesday, Concord Police Detective Julie Curtin testified that Labrie told her he had a playful encounter with the girl but stopped short of having sex after a moment of “divine inspiration.” But defense attorney J.W. Carney suggested police had treated his client unfairly, trying to catch him off-guard by driving to Vermont to interview him and speaking to him without his parents present. Investigators first met Labrie and his mother at a coffee shop, but after detectives said it would be better to talk at the police station, he agreed to be interviewed without his mother for nearly four hours.
The case has cast a critical light on St. Paul’s School, which boasts as alumni an international roster of senators, congressmen, ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates and other notables, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Labrie is expected to testify on Wednesday.
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