Prosecutors in the rape trial of a New Hampshire prep school graduate say a practice of sexual conquest at the school known as the “Senior Salute” will be central to the case.
Nineteen-year-old Tunbridge, Vermont, resident Owen Labrie has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges, including forcible rape.
According to the Washington Post, Owen Labrie, who still expects to matriculate at Harvard, explained to the Concord, New Hampshire, police that the “Senior Salute” was a competition among senior men to have sex with as many underclassmen as possible.
A counselor who contacted police after hearing from the accuser’s mother also told an investigator about the tradition, the Concord Monitor reported last year, citing a police affidavit. He acknowledged to the detective he was “trying to be number one”, the detective wrote.
Laurie admits he was trying to win the “Senior Salute”, yet two days after the alleged rape, he was honored at graduation, according to ABC News, with the Rector’s Award for “selfless devotion to school activities”.
St. Paul’s School boasts a glittering roster of alumni that includes senators, congressmen, a Nobel laureate and the current secretary of state.
In interviews with detectives, Labrie told a detective some students ‘take great pride’ in having sex with younger students before they leave school.
Jury selection is now under way in the courthouse in Concord, New Hampshire.
St. Paul’s School released a statement on its website Monday morning that addressed the beginning of the trial that read, “As the Labrie trial begins, you may read or hear allegations surrounding those involved in the situtation, as well as the about [sic] the School”.
In his defense, Labrie said the freshman girl was eager to have sex, but the aspiring divinity student said he had a ‘moment of self-restraint’ and stopped. We will move past this as a School community, stronger, united, and committed, as always, to ensuring our students’ safety and wellbeing.
“It is the context of this entire event”, she said.