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St. Paul’s sexual assault survivor: ‘I want everyone to know that I’m not afraid or ashamed anymore’

The survivor at the center of the St. Paul’s School sexual assault case spoke publicly and revealed her identity Tuesday during an exclusive interview with the Today show.

A year after a jury convicted St. Paul senior Owen Labrie of three misdemeanor sexual assault charges, the now 17-year-old Chessy Prout said she wouldn’t be where she is today if she hadn’t spoke up about her experience. She said she’s ready to stand up and “own” what happened to her and make sure others know they don’t need to be ashamed, either.

“I want everyone to know that I am not afraid or ashamed anymore, and I never should have been,” Prout told Today’s Savannah Guthrie of her experience.

She was 15 years old at the time of the incident; Labrie was 18.


Prout said she was frustrated by the verdict in the case, which acquitted Labrie of more serious felony aggravated rape charges. Labrie was sentenced to a year in jail but is currently free on bail pending an appeal.

“They said that they didn’t believe that he did it knowingly, and that frustrated me a lot because he definitely did do it knowingly,” she said. “And the fact that he was still able to pull the wool over a group of people’s eyes bothered me a lot and just disgusted me in some way.”

She said all she can hope for is that Labrie learns from the situation and gets help.

“Because if he doesn’t learn, he’ll do it to another young woman,” she said.

During the interview, it was revealed that both Prout’s father, Alex, and older sister, Lucy, graduated from the St. Paul’s. Chessy’s parents said they loved the school until it became apparent to them the institution’s reputation was more important than their daughter’s experience.

The Prout family has since filed a civil suit against the school.

According to Today, Chessy is now working with a nonprofit that works to prevent sexual violence through social advocacy, education, and support for survivors.


“I want other people to feel empowered and just strong enough to be able to say, ‘I have the right to my body. I have the right to say no,'” Chessy said during Tuesday’s interview.

She said she doesn’t want other survivors of sexual assault to be alone, since she knows that with her family, “somebody’s got my back.”

The 17-year-old said she locks herself in the closet because she doesn’t want her little sister to see her when she has panic attacks, but that the younger girl will open the door and say, “Chessy, you’re OK.”

“I just can’t imagine how scary this is for people to do this alone,” she said.

Watch the interview below:



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