Victim in New Hampshire prep school rape trial due to testify

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2015 7:04 AM

By Ted Siefer

CONCORD, N.H. (Reuters) - A female teen who New Hampshire prosecutors contend was raped by a fellow student at an elite prep school last year is expected to resume testimony against her alleged attacker on Wednesday.

The trial of 19-year-old Owen Labrie opened on Tuesday with prosecutors and defense lawyers sketching out starkly contrasting accounts of an alleged attack at St. Paul's School in Concord, where prosecutors contend the defendant raped a freshman as part of a school tradition called a "senior salute."

Labrie's attorney said that the two had exchange friendly and occasionally flirtatious emails prior to the incident, and contended that the encounter was consensual but that no intercourse took place.

The trial has shone a light on the culture of the school, whose alumni include powerful U.S. business and political leaders including Secretary of State John Kerry. Labrie had told police that graduating seniors had competed to "score" with as many younger students as possible.

The 159-year-old school, located on 2,000 wooded acres (810 hectares) in the state capital of Concord, has said that the alleged attack was not reflective of its culture.

The victim testified briefly on Tuesday, identifying Labrie before breaking down in tears and being excused.

"She's going to testify that the defendant became very aggressive and things moved very fast," prosecutor Catherine Ruffle told jurors in her opening statement.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney, whose clients have included James "Whitey" Bulger, has said that Labrie will also testify.

Carney has said that Labrie was raised by a single mom and was only able to attend St. Paul's on a scholarship, and that he had distinguished himself as a student leader and athlete and hoped to attend divinity school.

(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Eric Walsh)