Home / National News / Alleged Rape Victim Tells Court She Was 'Wary' of 'Senior Salute'


(CONCORD, N.H.) — The alleged victim in the “senior salute” rape case at the New Hampshire prep school, St. Paul’s School, has taken the stand for the second day of the trial, telling the court how she thought his intentions expressed in an email prior to their encounter were “gross.”

The victim, who is not being identified because of the nature of the crime, was 15 when Owen Labrie allegedly raped her in May 2014, two days before he graduated from the elite prep school in Concord, New Hampshire.

Labrie, who is now 19, has entered a not-guilty plea against the charges.

The alleged victim said she initially declined an email offer from Labrie for a “senior salute,” allegedly a tradition where boys about to graduate attempt to have sexual relations with younger female students, possibly taking their virginity.

But then, two of Labrie’s friends approached the teen as she was working on a science project and urged her to accept Labrie’s offer, she said.

One of the friends “managed to convince me that it was innocent and Owen Labrie wouldn’t do anything against my will,” the teen testified on Wednesday. “He wouldn’t hurt me. He just wants to show me a cool place.”

“He’s supposedly a good kid. I thought okay I might as well not judge as harsh this time,” the teen testified.

The victim described how they arranged to meet in one of the school’s restricted towers for which Labrie had the keys. She then detailed how the meeting progressed, starting with kissing and leading to him trying to take off her clothes, laying a blanket on the floor and going beyond what she wanted.

She testified that she pulled his face back toward hers, “laughed nervously,” and told him, “Let’s keep it up here.”

“I meant no,” she said. “I didn’t want him to touch me down there. I didn’t want him down there orally. … I wish I kept my pants on.”

The alleged victim then recalled telling a friend, “I think I just had sex with Owen Labrie.”

She recalled her friend asking her, “Did you want it?” and she replied, “I don’t know. I have no idea.”

Earlier in the victim’s testimony Wednesday morning, prosecutor Catherine Ruffle questioned the victim about an email she received from Labrie prior to the alleged attack.

“I thought it was a classic senior salute. I thought it came with bad intentions because there was no prior conversation,” the teen told the court, adding that she thought Labrie wanted “to kiss me or something.”

“When I got it I was slightly annoyed and felt like it was a gross general message. I was kind of disgusted by it,” the teen said. “The way it was written … it was just written in too condescending a speech. … It was too pretentious.”

The teen testified that she showed the email to her friends and her sister, who was friends with Labrie, and they laughed, saying it was stupid. She told the court that girls said that getting a senior salute was supposed to make a girl “feel honored” for the attention.

But she declined the initial offer, choosing her words carefully, she told the court.

“I didn’t want to come across as too offensive or rude. … I didn’t want to cause conflict. I was wary of what his intentions were,” she told the court Wednesday morning.

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