Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prep School Power Play

This is why the presidents get the big bucks, and don't forget to salute:

"Accuser takes stand in N.H. prep school rape trial" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  August 18, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. — A 16-year-old girl who said she was raped last year at St. Paul’s School burst into tears Tuesday as she named fellow student Owen Labrie as her assailant on the first day of testimony in the high-profile trial.

Some trials are; others, not so much.

The dramatic declaration came as new details emerged in the case. 

I don't know if I want to know.

Prosecutors said DNA evidence from the girl matches Labrie’s profile, while the defense pointed to messages the girl sent Labrie soon after the encounter as evidence that it was consensual.

The girl was assaulted on May 30, 2014, authorities said, after Labrie allegedly arranged to meet her as part of a year-end tradition at the school known as senior salute, in which seniors, including some seeking sexual conquests, reach out to younger students.

If nothing else, it is teaching the kids about power hierarchies and the things they will encounter in the elite world.

In her first public comments about the case, the girl testified that she initially rejected Labrie’s overtures, and that her friends found his invitation “disgusting.”

“I thought his intentions were really wrong,” she said.

But the girl, then a ninth-grader, said she changed her mind when a friend of hers vouched for Labrie, then a popular senior.

“He tried to make me comfortable with the idea,” she said. The friend made Labrie’s intentions sound “more genuine,” she said.

The girl then left the courtroom in tears as testimony ended for the day. It is the Globe’s policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault unless they decide otherwise.

Prosecutors say Labrie, 19, forced himself on the girl over her objections, at one point calling her a tease as she tried to pull away from him. When Labrie tried to take her underwear off, she used both hands to pull them back up, prosecutor Catherine Ruffle said Tuesday in opening statements.

“She said no,” Ruffle said to the jury. “This was not consensual.”

The charges have cast a harsh light on the sexual culture at the Concord, N.H., prep school, a highly regarded springboard to the Ivy League and other top colleges. As they prepared to graduate, Labrie and his friends competed over who could “slay” the most girls, often younger students they only knew in passing, authorities say.

Labrie’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, said Tuesday in court that Labrie did not have sexual intercourse with the girl, and that all activity between them was mutual. He cited e-mail messages after their encounter.

After Labrie wrote “you’re an angel,” the girl replied “you’re quite an angel yourself,” Carney said. “Does this sound like she was unwilling that night?”

Carney said the girl wanted to have sex with Labrie but that he decided not to go through with it. Ruffle said prosecutors would present DNA evidence collected from the girl’s underwear that implicates Labrie.

He said, she said, huh?

Carney said the tradition of “senior salute” did not necessarily involve sexual activity.

Ruffle, meanwhile, urged jurors to focus on the specifics of the case, rather than the culture at the school as a whole.

“It’s not about St. Paul’s School,” she said. “This case is about Owen Labrie sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.”

Under New Hampshire law, girls under 16 cannot consent to sex, prosecutors said.

Ruffle said that two months before contacting the girl, Labrie made a list of girls he might want to ask out for senior salute. Only the girl’s name was in capital letters, Ruffle said.

When they met in a building on campus, they “started to hook up,” she said. The encounter “escalated quickly,” and Labrie bit her on the chest, causing her to recoil in pain.

I'm unhooking myself.

Why are woman barraged with terminology and imagery that glamorizes prostitution anyway?

“The defendant became very aggressive,” she said.

She tried to fend off his advances, but he would not stop, she said. As the attack went on, she “couldn’t find the words” to say no any longer, she said.

She later went to the school nurse seeking emergency contraception, and told the nurse the sex was consensual, Ruffle said. “She just wanted to get in there and get out,” the prosecutor said. But later, she realized she “couldn’t handle it on her own anymore,” and called her mother in tears in the middle of the night. They contacted police. “They did not have sex together,” she said. “This was not a consensual act.”

Carney said the best evidence of what happened was the girl’s “own words” on the night she and Labrie were together, and said jurors were “going to see a lot of inconsistency.”

Showing an e-mail exchange between the two teenagers, Carney focused on the flowery language and the use of French leading up to their encounter. In the exchange, she agrees to meet him “only if it’s our little secret,” and Labrie replies “not a soul needs to know.”

Afterward, she asks him if he would mind “keeping the sequence of events to yourself,” and whether he had used a condom. He says he did.

“You’re a gem,” he wrote.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” she replied.

Carney said these were “not the words of a rape victim.”

Labrie, who grew up in a small Vermont town, earned a scholarship to St. Paul’s, where he was an excellent and popular student, Carney said. Labrie will take the stand in the case, Carney said.

The alleged victim testified after the jury visited the building where the alleged rape occurred.

She is scheduled to continue her testimony on Wednesday.


"Teen in St. Paul’s School rape case blamed herself; Said she feared repercussions" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  August 19, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. — The 16-year-old girl who has accused a fellow student of raping her at St. Paul’s School last year expressed disgust Wednesday over the casual, seemingly lighthearted messages she exchanged with the alleged attacker after the encounter, saying that she had wanted to downplay the assault and that she blamed herself.

In often tearful testimony, the girl said she was deeply shaken in the immediate aftermath of the May 2014 attack, and was too traumatized at first to report that Owen Labrie had raped her.

“I knew what had happened, but I didn’t want to face it,” she said on the second day of the trial. “I blamed myself for him not stopping. I was trying to keep it light because I thought it was my fault.”

The girl was a freshman at the elite Concord prep school when Labrie, a senior, invited her to meet just before graduation, a campus tradition known as “senior salute.” Prosecutors say Labrie, 19, and his friends were competing over who could have the most sexual encounters.

The girl, then 15, says that Labrie led her to a dark, isolated room on campus and forced himself on her, ignoring her efforts to prevent him from taking off her clothes.

She said she wished she had tried to fight off Labrie more aggressively, but said she made it clear she wanted him to stop.

“I didn’t kick or scream or really push,” she said. “But I did say no. I said no three times. In that moment, I don’t know how I could have made it any more clear.”

Labrie denies the charges, and his lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., says the teenagers never had sex, even though the girl wanted to.

I kind of stopped reading it there, just after the turn-in. Just couldn't take it anymore.

In opening statements Tuesday, Carney had zeroed in on friendly e-mail exchanges between the students in the hours after the attack, saying they strongly suggested the encounter had been consensual. On Wednesday, prosecutors sought to rebut that theory, asking the girl why she could seem so cordial to someone who had just assaulted her.

“I didn’t mean what I said,” she said. “I didn’t want to show weakness to him.”

The girl said she wanted to avoid conflict with Labrie, worried that he would confront her directly or spread rumors about her on campus.

Even during the encounter, she said she hesitated to slow things down, saying she didn’t want to come off as “bitchy.”

“I wanted to be easy-going,” she told the jury of 11 men and three women. “I didn’t want to have that kind of reputation.”

Although the girl and Labrie were sitting perhaps 20 feet apart, they did not appear to make eye contact Wednesday. She occasionally looked at her family as she spoke, and Labrie took notes.

In the packed courtroom, Carney began his cross-examination of the girl after she had tearfully described the details of the alleged rape and coming to grips with what had happened.

Carney noted that she had accepted Labrie’s invitation to meet after initially turning him down, and that she had ignored other senior salutes altogether.

He reminded her that she had told police that Labrie “was always very nice to me,” and she acknowledged that Labrie had a relationship with her older sister, a classmate of his.

In pointed questioning, Carney then noted that the teenager had agreed in a message to meet Labrie “only if it’s our little secret.”

“It was very important that if you got together with Owen it be a secret?” he asked.

“No,” she replied. She said she wrote that because she was worried he might tell other students about their encounter and didn’t want any “falsifications” around what happened.

“People don’t keep secrets like that, especially boys,” she said. 

Word was already out any. The list.

Carney then asked her whether she had talked with a close friend about meeting Labrie, and whether she had any expectations about what might transpire. She had previously testified that she thought Labrie might try to kiss her but didn’t expect anything more serious.

But Carney said the girl’s friend told Concord police that she had expressed a willingness to go much further with Labrie than she had suggested, including oral sex.

“I have no recollection of saying that to her,” she said.

Carney’s cross-examination is expected to continue Thursday. Labrie, 19, is also expected to testify during the trial, held a short distance from the St. Paul’s campus.

The tense exchange with Carney capped an emotional day of testimony from the teenager, which depicted a shy, sensitive girl who even after the alleged attack tried to avoid conflict with the popular senior who had been bound for Harvard, fearful it would only make things worse.

I feel terrible for this poor girl.

She said she took pains to hide her distress from her family to avoid detracting from her sister’s graduation.

“This was her weekend,” she said. “I was not about to make this weekend about me.”

As her family looked on, she cried as she recalled taking a shower after the alleged attack.

“I tried to wash every little part of me,” she said through tears. “I was so angry for letting it happen. I felt like something had been taken away from me.”

She later went to a campus nurse seeking emergency birth control, where she said the sex was consensual.

“Through my tears, I said yes,” she said. “I didn’t want to cause any trouble. It was so much easier just to say it was consensual.’’


Did he at least turn on some music?

"Accuser gets grilling in St. Paul’s School rape trial; Girl tearfully stands by her account of an attack" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  August 20, 2015

CONCORD, N. H. — Facing withering cross-examination, the 16-year-old girl who reported being raped last year at St. Paul’s School burst into tears Thursday as the alleged attacker’s lawyer challenged her credibility by noting what he called discrepancies between her testimony and statements to police.

She sure is brave whatever she is.

As defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. peppered her with questions, the girl stood by her story and said she was still in shock when she spoke with investigators five days after the encounter.

Wasn't he Bulger's lawyer?

“I was raped,” she gasped, her voice rising in anger. “I was violated in so many ways. Of course I was traumatized.”

The wrenching exchange occurred on her third day of testimony in the trial of St. Paul’s graduate Owen Labrie, 19, who is charged with three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. The case has called attention to the sexual culture at the elite school, particularly a tradition where seniors proposition younger students as graduation approaches.

The little dribs and drabs from Sandusky on to the BBC and beyond have exposed the criminal sexual predations of the elite, despite the ma$$ media vagueness and cover up.

From the start of the day, Carney pursued an aggressive cross-examination of the girl, who had described the attack under questioning by prosecutors on Wednesday. In her testimony, she has come across as a sensitive, sexually inexperienced ninth-grader who was overwhelmed by the advances of a popular senior.

The girl acknowledged under cross-examination Thursday that she lifted her arms above her head so Labrie could remove her shirt and also lifted her hips so he could take off her shorts during the encounter, in a secluded room on the Concord campus May 30, 2014.

She said she was scared by what was happening, but didn’t initially protest. The girl said she remained quiet even when Labrie bit her breast, causing her significant pain.

I don't want to know this.

“You didn’t tell him to stop?” Carney asked.

“I didn’t,” she said through tears.

Reiterating earlier testimony, the girl said she resisted Labrie’s efforts to remove her bra and underwear, and as the encounter escalated twice told him “no.”

The defense has said that Labrie, who arranged to meet the girl in a year-end tradition called “senior salute,” and the girl had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. Labrie is expected to testify in the trial, which is scheduled to continue Monday.

Carney has pointed to the girl’s cordial, lighthearted messages to Labrie after the alleged attack as evidence that their encounter was consensual, while the girl said she was hiding her anger to defuse the situation.

On Thursday, in one of the day’s most pointed exchanges, Carney asked whether that meant her messages were dishonest.

“Your words didn’t really mean what your words said?” he asked.

“That’s not lying,” she replied.

Carney asked how Labrie could be expected to understand that she was upset, given the light tone of her messages, which sometimes included “ha ha.”

“Given the fact that he didn’t understand I was saying no [during the reported attack], maybe he couldn’t understand,” she replied.

The girl did not immediately report that she had been assaulted, and told a school nurse that the sex had been consensual.

Carney questioned the girl about wanting to meet Labrie in secret, pointing to her remarks to police that she hid her face as she walked across campus to the science and math building where they met. He also noted that she told police she felt “excited to have attention from him” during their encounter, and that she sometimes laughed as it was going on.

When Carney asked whether it was “fair to say” that Labrie could not have known she was uncomfortable because she was laughing, she responded bluntly.

“That is not fair to say,” she said. “I am very sure about that.”

Labrie, dressed in a gray blazer with elbow patches, kept his head down through much of her testimony, occasionally taking notes on a legal pad.

Under questioning, the girl acknowledged she had told police she didn’t know “whether to be proud or happy” about what happened, and that immediately after the encounter she told a friend, “I think I just had sex with Owen Labrie.”

Carney continued to try to chip away at her credibility, and when she testified that “I try not to lie as much as possible,” Carney shot back.

She may get my vote for president someday.

“Sometimes, I guess you’re not successful,” he said, drawing some glares from her friends and family.

Once Carney completed his questioning, the girl stepped down from the stand in tears. Leaving the courtroom, she tearfully apologized to the prosecutor. 

Why? She has nothing to apologize for.

It is the Globe’s policy not to identify reported victims of sexual assault unless they decide otherwise.

The girl’s mother also took the stand, and recalled how her daughter had called her in tears a few days after the alleged attack.

“She was hysterical,” she said. The mother rushed to campus to be with her, and later took her to the room where she and Labrie met.

“She was overcome,” she told the court. “She couldn’t go in. She had a physical, visceral collapse. She sobbed hysterically. Her feet wouldn’t move.”

That is the next-to-last kind of call a mother wants to get about her daughter.

A close friend of the girl testified that she saw her just after her encounter with Labrie and noticed she seemed nervous. “To me, it seemed concerning,” she said.

She asked the friend to talk in private, and showed her the bite marks on her breast, the friend said.

Who did he thing he was, Marv Albert?

Under cross examination, the friend said the girl had previously told her she thought Labrie was good-looking, and that “at most” she would perform oral sex on him.

“She wouldn’t let anything else happen,” the friend said.


"St. Paul’s students recall night of alleged rape; Owen Labrie said he had sex with girl, peers testify" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  August 24, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. — In often crude language, four current and former students at St. Paul’s School testified Monday that Owen Labrie told them he had sex with a 15-year-old girl who accuses him of rape, undercutting claims by Labrie’s defense team that the two did not have intercourse.

Andrew Thomson, who was Labrie’s roommate at the elite Concord prep school, testified that Labrie told him on the night of the alleged attack in May 2014 that he had taken the teenager’s virginity.

Or he lied about it because, you know. If he says he didn't bag her....

“He seemed a little taken aback, but overall happy” after the encounter, said Thomson, now a student at Brown University. “He seemed to be in a good mood.”

On the fourth day of the high-profile trial, which has focused attention on the sexual culture at the prestigious boarding school, prosecutors sought to portray Labrie, 19, as a popular senior who used his status to woo younger girls, and who had set his sights on the 15-year-old for months.

As Labrie looked on from across a hushed courtroom, Thomson said Labrie had “always had a kind of crush” on the ninth-grader and had sent her a message known as a “senior salute.” In the campus rite, older students seek to meet up with younger ones.

“He always seemed to think very highly of her,” Thomson said, saying Labrie had described the girl as a “princess.” Thomson told the court that he cautioned his friend that an encounter with the girl “probably wasn’t a great idea” because of her age, but Labrie went ahead anyway.

Testimony often zeroed in on the lewd sexual comments of teenage boys discussing girls they would like to pursue, and noted that Labrie was competing with friends to see how many girls they could “score” or “slay” before graduation.

Prosecutors asked Labrie’s friends about the terms “scoring” and “slaying,” which they said described a range of sexual encounters from kissing to sexual intercourse....

Stop right there!


I'm sure hoping this isn't another roll job to hang a scarlet letter around some kid's neck.


"Authorities in New Hampshire say they’ve found insufficient evidence to charge a Dartmouth College fraternity accused of branding new members. Alpha Delta, which partly inspired the 1978 movie ‘‘Animal House,’’ lost its status as a student organization in April after a string of disciplinary violations including hazing and serving alcohol to underage people. Eleven of the fraternity’s 35 new members also had letters burned onto their bodies last fall, but Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis told The Valley News Tuesday that evidence suggests they did so of their own free will. A college judicial committee also concluded the branding didn’t amount to hazing but cited the past violations and concern for student safety in revoking the fraternity’s recognition. The fraternity’s alumni adviser said Monday he ‘‘fully expected’’ the police findings (AP)."

Toga, toga, toga!

All clear on where you fit in?

UPDATE: Prosecution rests in St. Paul’s rape case

NEXT DAY UPDATESt. Paul’s student said he halted sexual encounter, officer says


"St. Paul’s graduate, only defense witness, denies rape" by Peter Schworm Globe Staff  August 26, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. — Former St. Paul’s School student Owen Labrie took the witness stand in his own defense Wednesday and flatly denied accusations that he raped a 15-year-old girl in a secluded room on the prep school campus, describing a casual, mutual physical encounter that escalated but stopped short of sex.

Labrie, the only defense witness in the trial, appeared confident and composed as he rebutted charges that he forced himself on the freshman girl just before graduation in May 2014. Responding to detailed questions about their interaction, Labrie said he decided not to have sex with the girl just after he put on a condom.

“I thought to myself, maybe we shouldn’t do this,” Labrie, 19, said. “I had a second thought while I was looking down at her.”

Labrie’s testimony sharply diverged from the girl’s emotional testimony last week, when she tearfully said Labrie became aggressive and forced her to have sexual intercourse.

The jury will soon have the difficult task of determining whether Labrie’s or his accuser’s story is more credible.

Labrie, a standout student and popular figure on campus, spent the full day on the witness stand Wednesday. Clad in a dark sport coat, white shirt, and burgundy tie, he testified he thought she wanted to keep it secret from her sister, whom Labrie had briefly dated, and because the elite boarding school was known as a hothouse for rumors.... 

Pussy, 'er, cat was already out of the bag.


Also see:

St. Paul’s trial reminds us that, in many ways, it’s still 1950

Closing arguments being made as I type.

Jurors take up N.H. prep school rape case

Looks like some have already come back with a decision.