Owen Labrie, the St. Paul prep school student who was accused by a younger classmate of sexual assault, has received a series of verdicts on multiple charges, including rape. He was acquitted of a felony sexual assault charge but found guilty of sex with a minor.
According to the Washington Post, Owen Labrie had sex with a 15-year-old classmate as part of an unofficial St. Paul tradition. Known as the “Senior Salute,” the challenge involves upperclassmen asking younger girls to have sex with them before graduation.
The plaintiff claimed that the sex was violent and not consensual. She accused Owen Labrie of biting her and scratching the inside of her vagina. She attempted to keep her underwear on during the entire encounter and repeatedly told Owen Labrie “no.”
“I didn’t know what else I could do,” she said. “I already said no… I felt like I was frozen.”
But Owen Labrie claimed that it was not only consensual, but that he changed his mind and stopped just before they had intercourse.
“I thought, maybe we shouldn’t do this,” he testified.
However, Owen Labrie admitted to bragging about the sexual conquest via Facebook messages, which he later deleted.
Ultimately, the jury decided there was not enough evidence to suggest Owen Labrie had raped the girl, but accepted the fact that penetration had occurred. They ruled that the prep school student had sex with a girl below the age of consent, which resulted in a misdemeanor.
According to the New York Times, Owen Labrie broke down and sobbed when the verdict was read, which was the first time the student had shed any tears since the court proceedings began. The young girl who accused the 19-year-old of rape also cried, with members of her family by her side.
The family released a statement about the verdict, saying they were happy to receive some “measure of justice,” even if Owen Labrie was not found guilty of rape.
“While he was not convicted on all charges, Owen Labrie was held accountable in some way by a jury of his peers for crimes he committed against our daughter. This conviction requires him to take ownership for his actions and gives him the opportunity to reflect upon the harm he has caused. There is no joy in this outcome, however, as our daughter can never get back what she has lost nor can St. Paul’s School ever be our community again.”
Though the charges against Owen Labrie may be too lenient for the family’s standards, he will have to register as a sex offender, according to the Concord Monitor. And life as a sex offender isn’t all Labrie has in store; he is scheduled to receive a sentenced at a later date.
How do you think Owen Labrie should be punished?
[Image credit: CONCORD NEW HAMPSHIRE POLICE and St. Paul’s School]