The Slatest

High-Profile St. Paul’s Rape Trial Ends in One-Year Jail Sentence for Owen Labrie

The high-profile trial of Owen Labrie did not end in a rape conviction, but on Thursday the now 20-year-old was sentenced to one year in jail for having sex with an underage student while at prestigious St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. “A jury in August cleared him of rape and convicted him instead of misdemeanor sexual assault for having intercourse and other sexual contact with an underage girl,” the Associated Press reports. “He was also found guilty of a felony count of using a computer—specifically, Facebook and email—to lure the girl.” Labrie was 18 years old and the girl 15, at the time.

Here’s more on the encounter from the New York Times:

The encounter began, both sides said, after the girl, then 15, accepted Mr. Labrie’s invitation to join him for a “senior salute,” a practice at the school in which younger students met with seniors for a romantic encounter just before graduation. Mr. Labrie, who was then 18, took the younger student up to a rooftop, to show her a sweeping view of campus, and then down to a mechanical room below. The girl took the stand here for a full day and parts of two others, her voice trembling at some times, at other times conveying anger. Mr. Labrie, she said, penetrated her with his fingers, tongue and penis. She said that she had told him to stop but that she had felt frozen. Mr. Labrie, who was the only defense witness, testified that the encounter amounted to kissing and embracing in their underwear, and that it stopped well short of sex.

During Thursday’s sentencing, Judge Larry Smukler called Labrie a “very good liar,” telling him “[y]ou’re going to do a year in the House of Corrections and probation… That’s the bottom line.” Labrie will also have to register as a sex offender. The prosecution had been seeking a stiffer sentence—up to 7 years—for the one-time soccer captain who had been accepted to Harvard where he had planned to study theology. The defense argued for community service, saying the penalty paid had already been sufficient for what the defense called a “consensual encounter between two teenagers.” The defense team also filed a motion to dismiss the felony conviction because it was intended to punish much older sexual predators preying on young children. Labrie will not have to go to jail until the case is appealed, according to the Times.