Owen Labrie, the New Hampshire prep school student convicted last year of sexually assaulting an underage classmate, wants a new trial.
Labrie, 20, is asking for a new trial on the grounds that his counsel was incompetent in its handling of a charge of computer-related seduction, for which he was convicted, NBC News reported.
For his sexual encounter with a classmate, Owen was acquitted on a charge of felony rape last year but convicted of the computer charge and misdemeanor charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The computer-related seduction charge referred to his use of the internet to lure a minor, and in the motion, Owen contends that his attorneys didn’t properly prepare to defend it. Labrie’s conviction on that charge resulted in the requirement that he become a registered sex offender.
The motion for a new trial argues that Labrie’s defense had an “objectively unreasonable” strategy in arguing that charge. In other words, they didn’t give it enough attention and didn’t defend Owen adequately, resulting in a “miscarriage of justice.”
According to NECN, Labrie was sentenced to one year in jail, which he appealed and resulted in him being released on bail. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender in his native Vermont.
Today, Labrie is finally serving that one-year sentence after violating bail conditions. Owen’s freedom was revoked after he was discovered breaking his curfew eight times, WMUR reported.
Labrie’s victim was 15 and apparently the target of the “Senior Salute” ritual at the elite St. Paul’s School in which seniors attempted to bed underclassmen. According to a Boston Globe article published in March, which reported on the revocation of Owen’s bail, he and his victim arranged online to meet on graduation weekend for sex. He was 18 at the time.
The girl claimed that Labrie raped her in a secluded mechanical room. He claimed that the meeting was mutual and that they never had sex because he experienced “divine inspiration” that convinced him to halt the tryst.
The girl is reportedly still traumatized by the experience.
Owen has been free to roam in his hometown of Tunbridge, Vermont, while his appeal was pending. However, this freedom came at a price: he had to stay in his mother’s home from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day. Prosecutors allege he “thumbed his nose” at these conditions at least eight times.
The jig was up when Owen was spotted by a reporter on a train. He agreed to an interview, later published in VICE. The article had investigators wondering just why Labrie was on a train when he should’ve been at his mom’s home, so they looked into his activities and discovered a trail of security videos and credit card statements that showed he’d repeatedly broken his curfew.
Prosecutors said Owen was visiting his girlfriend at Harvard University, meeting with lawyers, pursuing an education by attending lectures and meeting professors, and was conducting research. His attorney, Jaye Rancourt, said he left home outside curfew to “fly under the radar” but “wasn’t going out all night, drinking, hanging out with bad people.”
Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle had a different view of it.
“(Labrie) has been moving about the New England states as he sees fit. He wants to ask forgiveness now because he failed to ask for permission.”
At the March hearing, Judge Larry Smukler had no sympathy for Labrie and made it clear that his own decisions resulted in his bail being revoked. The young man reportedly showed no emotion after the ruling, but his mother cried as he was led away in handcuffs.
“He’s not mentally ready to spend time in jail,” Rancourt said. “Owen is a resilient young man. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but I’m heartbroken.”
[Image via Jim Cole/AP]