USA News

“A New Hampshire jury acquitted a former high school prep student of felony rape charges in a high-profile case involving issues of consent and troubling traditions at an exclusive private school.

Owen Labrie, 19, was found guilty of lesser, misdemeanor sex charges. Prosecutors charged Labrie with raping a 15-year-old girl in May 2014 during the St. Paul’s School ‘Senior Salute,’ an alleged tradition in which older students try to take underclassmen on dates that sometimes include sex. Much of the trial centered on what took place during an intimate encounter inside the campus building, as prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned the credibility and consistency of the testimony offered by both sides.

The girl’s family released a statement, read aloud by a spokeswoman to reporters following the verdict, in which they called the jury’s decision ‘a measure of justice’ that holds Labrie ‘accountable in some way by a jury of his peers for crimes he committed against our daughter.’ ‘There is no joy in this outcome, however, as our daughter can never get back what she has lost nor can St. Paul’s School ever be our community again,” the statement read.

During emotional testimony, Labrie’s accuser, now 16, said their encounter escalated and she had been raped. She testified she tried to keep her underwear on during the on-campus incident, telling him ‘no, no, no.’ Sheadded: ‘I didn’t know what else I could do. I already said no… I felt like I was frozen.'”

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