St. Paul’s students recall night of alleged rape
Owen Labrie said he had sex with girl, peers testify
CONCORD, N.H. — In often crude language, four current and former students at St. Paul’s School testified Monday that Owen Labrie told them he had sex with a 15-year-old girl who accuses him of rape, undercutting claims by Labrie’s defense team that the two did not have intercourse.
Andrew Thomson, who was Labrie’s roommate at the elite Concord prep school, testified that Labrie told him on the night of the alleged attack in May 2014 that he had taken the teenager’s virginity.
“He seemed a little taken aback, but overall happy” after the encounter, said Thomson, now a student at Brown University. “He seemed to be in a good mood.”
On the fourth day of the high-profile trial, which has focused attention on the sexual culture at the prestigious boarding school, prosecutors sought to portray Labrie, 19, as a popular senior who used his status to woo younger girls, and who had set his sights on the 15-year-old for months.
As Labrie looked on from across a hushed courtroom, Thomson said Labrie had “always had a kind of crush” on the ninth-grader and had sent her a message known as a “senior salute.” In the campus rite, older students seek to meet up with younger ones.
“He always seemed to think very highly of her,” Thomson said, saying Labrie had described the girl as a “princess.” Thomson told the court that he cautioned his friend that an encounter with the girl “probably wasn’t a great idea” because of her age, but Labrie went ahead anyway.
Testimony often zeroed in on the lewd sexual comments of teenage boys discussing girls they would like to pursue, and noted that Labrie was competing with friends to see how many girls they could “score” or “slay” before graduation.
Prosecutors asked Labrie’s friends about the terms “scoring” and “slaying,” which they said described a range of sexual encounters from kissing to sexual intercourse.
Another former St. Paul’s student, Malcolm Salovaara, said Labrie told him in January 2014 that he was making a list of girls he would want to meet up with before graduation. When Salovaara asked Labrie his favorite, he testified, Labrie named the 15-year-old.
In often tearful testimony last week, the girl contended that Labrie raped her in a dark, secluded room on campus over her objections and struggles to keep her bra and underwear on. Labrie’s lawyers said the teenagers did not have intercourse and that any sexual activity was consensual. They have pointed to seemingly cordial messages the 15-year-old sent Labrie after the encounter as evidence the encounter was mutual.
The age of consent in New Hampshire is 16, meaning the girl could not legally consent to sex.
On Monday, the focus turned to Labrie’s friends, almost all of whom told the predominantly male jury that Labrie had told them he had sex with the 15-year-old.
A current St. Paul’s student who lived in Labrie’s dorm testified that a smirking Labrie had “nodded yes” when a group of fellow students asked him whether he had sex with the girl, although he verbally told them he had not.
He later told the student that they had sex, the student told the court.
The student, whom the Globe is not identifying because he is a juvenile, said he had urged the girl to accept Labrie’s senior salute after Labrie asked him to “put in a good word for him.”
“He said he liked her,” he recalled.
When he told Labrie she had agreed to the meet-up, after originally balking, Labrie wrote him that “you are a [expletive deleted] god.”
On cross-examination by Labrie’s defense team, the boy said he had seen Labrie and the girl dancing together a couple of times at school dances and that he thought she liked him.
The girl testified last week that she hardly knew Labrie. But Labrie’s lawyers have suggested the two had a flirtatious relationship for months before the encounter, and that the girl wanted to keep their meeting secret.
On Monday, Salovaara, who attends Dartmouth College, testified that Labrie told him he had “hooked up” with the girl but denied that Labrie said they had sex. When prosecutors pressed him, saying he had told investigators otherwise, he said the police report was not accurate.
Henry Kremer, a former soccer teammate of Labrie’s, said Labrie told him at graduation that he had sex with the 15-year-old, but did not provide details.
Tucker Marchese, who also attended St. Paul’s with Labrie, said that one night in March 2014 he and Labrie created a list of girls that they were interested in. Labrie put the 15-year-old’s name in capital letters, the only girl he did that for.
Marchese testified he was surprised when Labrie told him he had slept with her. In a message to Labrie, Marchese asked how he convinced her, and Labrie replied: “Just pulled every trick in the book.”
Under cross-examination, the friends said Labrie never described anything that was not consensual and acknowledged that students are prone to exaggerating how far they went in sexual encounters.