St. Paul’s School responds to suit filed by parents of Owen Labrie’s victim

Owen Labrie is escorted out of the Merrimack County Superior Courtroom on Monday.
Owen Labrie was escorted out of the Merrimack County Superior Courtroom after a judge ruled he could be released from jail following a bail violation. –Jim Cole / AP

St. Paul’s School, the elite New Hampshire prep school that was the setting for a highly publicized sexual encounter between senior Owen Labrie and a freshman girl there, denied in a court filling this week that it was responsible for what happened.

The parents of Labrie’s victim, who was 15-years-old when she said she was raped by Labrie in a machine room on campus in May 2014, filed suit against the school in June. They claim that the prep school condoned the “Senior Salute,” a sexualized competition they called “ritualized statutory rape.”

Labrie, 20 was convicted in 2015 of misdemeanor sexual assault, endangering children and a felony charge of using a computer to lure his victim for sex. He was acquitted of the more serious rape charges, and sentenced to a year in jail. The jail term is suspended while he appeals the convictions.

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Citing the mixed verdict, school attorneys wrote that only Labrie and the victim know what happened during the encounter .

The school also echoed the testimony presented in Labrie’s defense, that the terms “Senior Salute,” “score,” or “slaying” can refer to a variety of acts.

“The term ‘scoring,’ as it has been generally used by students at the School, refers to a wide range of conduct related to students spending time together,” attorneys wrote.

Attorneys for the school denied several of the claims made in the suit, including accusations that young girls were harassed by older boys, that the school should have served in the role of parents for students, and that school officials should have monitored students’ electronic communications.

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