Labrie defense asks for probation in prep school rape case

Owen Labrie leaves Merrimack Superior Court with his attorney Jay Carney in Concord, N.H. , on August 28.
Owen Labrie leaves Merrimack Superior Court with his attorney, J.W. Carney Jr. –Geoff Forester/AP

Owen Labrie should receive probation, counseling and community service — not prison time — for having sex with a 15-year-old student last year on their prep school campus, his defense attorneys said in a court filing.

Labrie, now 20, was 18 when he was arrested and charged with raping the younger student at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. A jury in August convicted him of having sex with the underage girl, a misdemeanor, and a felony charge of using a computer to solicit her. He was acquitted of the more serious rape charges.

Labrie, from Tunbridge, Vermont, could face up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced Thursday. He will automatically have to register as a sex offender for life.

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He has already been punished, his attorneys argued, by his name forever being associated with this case, his withdrawal of his admission from Harvard and the upending of his life.

“The harsh truth is that Owen will be penalized every single day hereafter for what he did one night as an 18-year-old high school student,’’ defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. wrote. “This should be enough punishment for the misdemeanors that are at the core of this sentencing. Anything more would be cruel.’’

Labrie voluntarily consented to a “psychosexual risk evaluation’’ in August 2014, according to his attorneys. That evaluator said Labrie was at a low risk to reoffend, and that he should be in traditional psychotherapy, not “sex offender counseling’’ with other convicted rapists.

Labrie lived most of his life with his mother, a teacher who raised him after his parents’ divorce when he was a toddler. Since his arrest, he lived for a time with the parents of a St. Paul’s classmate in New Jersey, working and sending money to his mother in Vermont, according to the memo.

He has been constructing a small chapel on his father’s property, Carney wrote. Labrie had wanted to attend divinity school at Harvard.

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“His crucible over the past eighteen months has provided powerful deterrence to Owen’s ever treating a woman with selfishness or disrespect, and it has given a clarion warning to other young men who have witnessed his fall from grace,’’ Carney wrote.

Read the court filing:

Owen Labrie Sentencing Memorandum