(NEW YORK) — The former New Hampshire prep school student who was at the center of a rape trial earlier this year has spoken out for the first time since the summer verdict.
Owen Labrie opened up about his life on the sex offender registry after being cleared of forcible rape charges but being convicted of lesser offenses, including misdemeanor sexual assault.
Labrie has told Newsweek about how he spends his time building a chapel on his father’s property and defends his decision to maintain his innocence rather than accept a plea deal.
“It was the only thing that sustained me, knowing I had told the truth; I had done what was right,” Labrie told Newsweek. “I walked out of the courthouse with my chin up.”
Labrie, now 20, was an 18-year-old senior at the prestigious St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, at the time that he had a sexual encounter with a then-freshman girl.
The explicit messages Labrie sent to other students about his sexual relations with girl and her testimony were among the most dramatic moments of the trial.
Labrie was found guilty in August of a felony charge of using a computer to lure an underage girl into a sexual encounter, as well as three misdemeanor sexual assault charges and one misdemeanor charge of child endangerment.
He was sentenced to a year in jail for those charges, but the judge has suspended the sentence while he appeals the decision. For now, Labrie remains under curfew at the New Hampshire home of his father, who is divorced from Labrie’s mother.
“He is adamant about his innocence, but he is also resigned to the consequences,” Newsweek reporter Matthew Cooper told ABC News.
The attorney for the victim did not respond to an ABC News request for comment.
Labrie, who had his offer to Harvard College rescinded, has a lawyer working on his appeal to the state Supreme Court. He could also still face additional charges for deleting 119 Facebook messages during the investigation, which, during the trial, the prosecution said raises questions about whether Labrie was bragging when he told his friends that he had sex with his accuser.
“How could someone so smart with a bright future … whatever you think about what happened, how could he have risked so much?” Cooper said.
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