Roommate of prep school sex assault offender had same history: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: May 10, 2016 5:45 PM

By Ted Siefer

(Reuters) - The attorney of a former New Hampshire prep school student convicted of luring an underage classmate into a sexual encounter wanted to reveal that his roommate also had sex with an underage fellow student but he was blocked by a judge, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.

The 2015 trial of Owen Labrie, cast a harsh light on the culture of St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, particularly an alleged tradition known as "senior salute," in which seniors proposition younger students for romantic or sexual encounters.

Labrie, now 20, was found not guilty of felony rape, but convicted of the felony crime of using a computer to arrange a sexual encounter with a minor and the misdemeanor sexual assault because the girl was 15, below the age of consent, and he was 18.

Labrie's attorney, J.W. Carney, had wanted Labrie's roommate - a key trial witness - to testify about an alleged sexual encounter that he had with a 15-year-old fellow student, which was never the subject of a criminal prosecution, but was blocked from doing so by a judge, according to trial transcripts made public on Tuesday.

Carney claimed that the mother of the 15-year-old had wanted the Concord Police to investigate a claim that Labrie's roommate Andrew Thomson had a sexual relationship with her daughter but instead a deal was reached in which the teen agreed to stay off campus.

Thomson, who through a lawyer denied wrongdoing, is the son of Lucy Hodder, a prominent attorney in New Hampshire who is the former legal counsel to Governor Maggie Hassan.

Carney had said that Hodder's position, including her role as a former trustee of St. Paul’s School, resulted in her son being treated differently than Labrie for the same alleged conduct, "consensual sex with a first-year student."

Thomson's attorney, James Rosenberg, said on Tuesday that Carney's allegations were unfounded.

"Andrew did not engage in any inappropriate sexual conduct during his time at SPS and there is no allegation that he did," Rosenberg said in a statement.

Carney no longer represents Labrie, who is currently being held in a New Hampshire jail, after his bail was revoked in March for curfew violations. He is appealing his conviction.

Thomson, who was Labrie’s roommate for three years, testified during the trial that Labrie told him that he had sex with the 15-year-old student, contrary to Labrie’s insistence that he stopped short of having sex with her.

(Reporting by Ted Siefer in Lowell, Massachusetts; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernard Orr)