The charges Owen Labrie faced in the St. Paul’s School trial, explained
Owen Labrie was found not guilty of three felonious aggravated sexual assault charges on Friday afternoon, the three most serious charges he faced, but was found guilty of five charges overall.
The 19-year-old had faced nine total charges for what prosecutors said was sexual assault of a then-15-year-old fellow student at St. Paul’s School in 2014.
Here’s a breakdown of the nine total charges he faced, and the resulting verdicts.
Charge: Three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault.
Verdict: Not guilty on all three counts.
Background: The three aggravated felonious sexual assault counts were the most severe charges Labrie faced, each a felony punishable by up to 10 to 20 years in prison and lifetime sex offender status.
One count was for insertion of the penis in vagina, and jurors had to decide whether the victim showed by “speech and/or conduct that she did not freely consent.’’
A second count was for cunnilingus, and jurors similarly had to decide whether she showed by “speech and/or conduct that she did not freely consent.’’
The third count was for insertion of the penis in vagina, and jurors had to decide whether Labrie did this by “surprise before she had an adequate chance to flee and/or resist.’’
In all three counts, Labrie had to have committed these knowingly in order to be found guilty.
Charge: Three counts of misdemeanor sexual assault.
Verdict: Guilty of all three counts.
Background: To be found guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault, prosecutors had to prove the victim was under 16 years old and therefore could not consent to the sexual acts. Labrie was not charged with statutory rape, known legally as Felonious Sexual Assault, because he and the victim were less than four years in age apart.
Labrie was found guilty of vaginal penetration with his penis, vaginal penetration with his finger, and cunnilingus.
The three counts are punishable by up to 12 months in prison and having to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Charge: Endangering the Welfare of a Child
Background: A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child under 16 by soliciting the child to engage in sexual penetration. The state must prove three things: the defendant solicited a person to engage in sexual penetration, the person was under 16 years of age, and the defendant acted purposely.
Sexual penetration includes “any intrusion of any part of the actor’s body, or any object manipulated by the actor into genital or anal openings of the victim’s body.’’
Labrie sent the victim an invitation to Senior Salute, a sexualized game in which graduating seniors invite underclassmen to spend time with them before graduation. That invitation was considered to be the solicitation. The victim said she thought he would just try to kiss her.
Charge: Certain uses of a computer services prohibited.
Background: Under New Hampshire law, no person shall knowingly use a computer to “seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child’’ in order to commit any offense that falls under sexual assault. This is a Class B felony that carries 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison, but with no minimum. Prosecutors confirmed in court that this carries a lifetime sex offender registration.
Prosecutors said Labrie arranged for a tryst with the girl, first asking her out over email. That invitation, part of the Senior Salute tradition, was considered a solicitation.
“There’s a door here that’s been locked since before you were born,’’ his initial message to her read, in part. “But in a moment of divine intervention the night before last, its hinges swung open in my hand … I want to invite you to climb these hidden steps and bask in the nicest view.’’
The girl told jurors that she initially declined, but reconsidered after she was approached in person by a mutual male friend.
Charge: Simple Assault.
Verdict: Not guilty.
Background: Prosecutors said that Labrie bit the victim’s chest. Simple assault is considered a misdemeanor.
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