A teenage girl who accuses a recent graduate of St. Paul’s School, an elite prep school, of raping her as part of a campus tradition of sexual conquest testified that she was traumatized and in shock when she spoke to police five days later.
The case has cast a critical light on St. Paul’s School, which boasts as alumni an international roster of senators, congressmen, ambassadors, prize-winning authors and Nobel laureates.
Owen Labrie of 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. The defense says the two had consensual sexual contact.
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 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.”
The trial began Tuesday and is expected to run for two weeks.