By Claire Landsbaum
Chessy Prout was 15 when Owen Labrie, a senior at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, asked her out on a date. That was in 2014, and shortly afterward, Prout accused Labrie of sexual assault. Labrie was acquitted of three counts of felony sexual assault, but convicted on three lesser misdemeanor charges — a conviction he’s currently appealing.
The ruling has always bothered Prout, who spoke publicly for the first time to Today’s Savannah Guthrie Tuesday morning. “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.”
After Prout’s family filed a separate lawsuit against St. Paul’s alleging administrators didn’t do enough to protect students, the school threatened to force Prout to reveal her identity at trial, claiming her family was dragging its good name through the mud “from behind a cloak of anonymity.” So Prout decided to come forward of her own accord to stand in solidarity with other victims. “I want everyone to know that I am not afraid or ashamed anymore, and I never should have been,” she said. “It’s been two years now since the whole ordeal, and I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me and make sure other people, other girls and boys, don’t need to be ashamed, either.”
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