CONCORD, N.H. — A former student charged with raping a freshman two days before he graduated from an elite New Hampshire prep school took the stand as the defense opened its case Wednesday, describing his relationship with his accuser as “flirty.”
Owen Labrie, now 19, was a senior at St. Paul’s School when a 15-year-old girl accused him of raping her as part of Senior Salute, a school tradition in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving campus.
The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, testified Wednesday that he sent the girl an email inviting her to Senior Salute because he liked her. “I wanted to ask her out,” he said.
The girl left the courtroom in tears as Labrie began reading from messages they exchanged just before their encounter. The emails and Facebook communications were projected on a screen in the courtroom. In one exchange, the girl says Labrie’s plan to meet “sounds perfect.”
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