Owen Labrie was released on bail Monday as he appeals his conviction for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2014.
Merrimack County Judge Larry Smukler ruled that Labrie had learned his lesson about complying with his bail conditions after spending two months in a New Hampshire jail. Smukler revoked Labrie’s bail in March after finding he had repeatedly violated his court-mandated curfew.
Labrie’s lawyer, Jaye Rancourt, said his incarceration had a profound impact on him.
“For someone who’s never been incarcerated one hour, two months can be a very long time,” Rancourt said.
Labrie, 20, was placed in solitary confinement and has spent only one to three hours each day outside his cell, Rancourt said.
“It was very clear his safety was in question,” Rancourt said. “He’s gone through a wave of emotion, from being sad about his situation, being scared, being nervous, being bored at times.”
His time behind bars made Labrie realized how privileged and supported he is, Rancourt told the court. He would not pose a danger to the public if released, she said.
After a trial that drew widespread media attention, Labrie was convicted last August of having sex with an underage student at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., but was acquitted of felony sexual assault charges. He was sentenced to a year in jail, but was released on bail pending his appeal.
When his bail was revoked, Labrie appealed Smukler’s decision, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court urged the lower court last week to consider whether it could come up with reasonable conditions of release “now that the court’s revocation order has been in effect for sufficient time to presumably impress upon the defendant the importance of strictly complying with all bail conditions.”
Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle said the only thing that had changed since the judge’s original ruling is that “the defendant doesn’t like it in jail.” She said Labrie has “not meaningfully participated” in psychosexual evaluations.
Prosecutors had said they found at least seven instances when Labrie was not at his mother’s home as required every day between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Labrie said he was traveling to the Boston area to meet with lawyers and pursue academic research.
Smukler said Labrie had violated the court’s trust by violating his release conditions, but acknowledged that jail has had an impact on him. Labrie will be subject to GPS monitoring while released.J.D. Capelouto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.