Accuser in prep school rape case finishes testimony on stand

AP News
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Posted: Aug 20, 2015 2:23 PM
Accuser in prep school rape case finishes testimony on stand

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A teenage girl who accuses a recent graduate of an elite prep school of raping her as part of a campus tradition of sexual conquest testified Thursday that she was traumatized and in shock when she spoke to police five days later.

Owen Labrie of Tunbridge, Vermont, is charged with multiple felonies. Prosecutors say he was two days away from graduation last year when he raped the then-15-year-old girl in a building on the grounds of St. Paul's School in Concord as part of "Senior Salute," in which seniors try to have sex with underclassmen.

Under questioning Thursday from Labrie's lawyer, the girl, now 16, burst into tears, saying she was "violated in so many ways." She acknowledged helping Labrie remove her shirt and pants and said she didn't protest because she didn't want to be offensive. Asked if she was laughing during the encounter, she said "only once or twice" and described it as nervous laughter.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney tried to undermine her credibility, questioning her about friendly emails she later exchanged with Labrie. He also sought to note discrepancies between her testimony and what she told police. At the time, she told a detective she was "excited to have attention" from Labrie and didn't know "whether to be proud or happy" over their encounter.

The girl told Carney: "I try not to lie as much as possible."

"Sometimes I guess you're not successful," Carney told her.

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault.

The case has cast a critical light on St. Paul's School — one of eight members of a prep school Ivy League of sorts — that boasts as alumni an international roster of senators, congressmen, ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates.

The girl earlier testified she felt "frozen" when Labrie became aggressive and she said she initially felt the sex assault was her fault for not kicking, screaming or trying to push him off.

"I'm thinking how naive of myself, and I never should have left my room that night," she said "I felt like I was out of my body. ... I didn't want to believe this was happening to me."

On Thursday, the girl's parents asked the judge to prohibit people in the courtroom from recording, broadcasting, tweeting or otherwise distributing testimony or other court proceedings with the exception of the approved media pool camera. The judge didn't specifically address Twitter posts but said that only those designated to provide pool coverage could photograph, record or broadcast within the courtroom. He said bailiffs would confiscate the equipment of anyone who violated that rule.

The trial began Tuesday and is expected to run for two weeks.