St. Paul's Trial: Labrie Acquitted On Felony Rape Charges; Found Guilty On Lesser Charges

Aug 28, 2015

The jury has rendered a verdict in the trial of Owen Labrie, accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student at St. Paul's School in 2014.

Labrie was acquitted Friday of three felony rape charges but convicted of three misdemeanor sexual assault charges.

Labrie was also convicted of a felony charge of using a computer to lure a minor for sexual contact. If given the maximum sentence, he could face up to 11 years in prison.

Jurors reached the verdict after seven hours of deliberation.

The trial, stretching over two weeks, featured testimony from both Labrie and the victim. It also shone a harsh light on the alleged “hook-up” culture at St. Paul’s, an exclusive prep school located on the outskirts of Concord. Labrie’s encounter with the girl began as a so-called “Senior Salute,” in which graduating male students selected underclass students they wanted to date or have a romantic encounter with.  

Labrie did not deny that he and the girl were intimate, though he maintained that their encounter was consensual and did not lead to intercourse.

Labrie walked out of the courtroom on $15,000 cash bail. The court ordered him to stay with his mother in Tunbridge, Vermont but with check ins and a curfew. Labrie’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, said he plans to request probation as well as appeal the felony charge involving the illegal computer use.

Earlier today:

After more than two hours of closing arguments, jury deliberations have begun in the trial involving the alleged rape of a freshman girl at St. Paul’s School in May of 2014.

With little physical evidence introduced, the verdict will come down to whose story the jury ends up believing.

In Thursday’s closing arguments, the defense told the jury that then-senior Owen Labrie did have an encounter with the alleged victim on the night in question but did not have sex with her. Labrie’s attorney argues that the encounter was consensual and that when things escalated, Labrie stopped it.

State prosecutor Joseph Cherniske, on the other hand, argued that Labrie used his age to take advantage of a 15-year-old girl and when she tried to block his advances, he continued.

He also refuted the notion that the girl would make up the story to protect her reputation. “Why would a child go through all this if it was not 100 percent true?,” he asked the jury, composed of nine men and three women.

Both Labrie and the alleged victim took the stand for several hours throughout the course of the trial.

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