(CONCORD, N.H.) — Owen Labrie was found not guilty of felony sexual assault in a case at St. Paul’s School, a prestigious New Hampshire prep school.
The jury of nine men and three women delivered a not guilty verdict on the felony sexual assault charge on the second day of deliberations. He was found guilty of four misdemeanors for sexual assault and one felony related to a computer charge.
Labrie, now 19, was accused of raping a fellow student in May 2014 at the school in Concord, New Hampshire. He was charged with multiple felonies relating to the encounter and had entered a not-guilty plea.
The alleged victim, whose name is being withheld because of the nature of the crime, testified last week. “I was raped!” she said loudly amid tears. “I was violated in so many ways.”
When Labrie took the stand this week, he described their activity, which he said was mutual, but he denied having sex with her.
“It wouldn’t have been a good move to have sex with this girl,” he recalled thinking at the time when he said he and the alleged victim were making out in a school tower.
Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle said in court that the encounter at the center of the case was part of a “senior salute,” a tradition at the prep school. Ruffle said that the “senior salute” practice was largely intended as a way for graduating seniors “to be with someone that they might have wanted to be with throughout” high school, and could include activities like walking to class together or kissing but “it might include a little bit more.”
She also said some students believed Labrie and some of his friends had turned the tradition into a competition.
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