‘Felt like I was frozen:’ accuser in prep school rape trial
A female teen who New Hampshire prosecutors contend was raped by a fellow student at an elite prep school last year said on Wednesday she had expected her alleged attacker would try to kiss her when he invited her to a remote building – but no more.
The girl, who is 16 years old and was 15 at the time of the alleged attack, testified that Owen Labrie quickly became rough when he brought her to the top floor of a building at St. Paul’s School.
“I thought I might get to see a cool place, and maybe we’ll kiss, but that’s all,” the teen testified during the second day of the trial, which has cast a spotlight on the culture of the school, whose alumni include powerful U.S. business and political figures, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Labrie, now 19, brought the girl to a mechanical room in the building, where he repeatedly attempted to remove her underwear and bit her breast, the teen testified. Asked by county prosecutor Catherine Ruffle if she had asked Labrie to stop, she broke down in tears.
“I didn’t say anything,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘Ow, I’m in pain,’ but I couldn’t think of anything else. I felt like I was frozen.”
Labrie had initially told police the incident was part of a school tradition called a “senior salute” in which graduating male students compete to have sex with as many female students as possible.
Labrie’s attorney, J.W. Carney, said that the two had exchanged friendly and occasionally flirtatious emails before the incident, and contended that the encounter was consensual but that no intercourse took place.
Carney has said that Labrie will also testify.
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.
Carney has said that Labrie, who is from Tunbridge, Vermont, was raised by a single mother 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.
Labrie has pleaded not guilty to three felony sexual assault charges, which each carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.