Prep school grad linked to sex assault free on good behavior
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old classmate as part of a game of sexual conquest called "Senior Salute" was released from jail Monday.
Owen Labrie, 23, reported to the Merrimack County jail just after Christmas, after a judge refused to shorten his sentence. He had been due to serve the remaining 10 months of his sentence but was released for good behavior.
Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, was acquitted in 2015 of raping the female classmate, Chessy Prout, at St. Paul's School. But he was found guilty of a felony computer charge and several misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The computer law says no one shall knowingly use a computer online service "to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child" to commit sexual assault.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, as Prout has done.
Labrie's release comes more than two weeks after New Hampshire's Supreme Court denied his request for a new trial.
In its 3-0 ruling, the court dismissed arguments that Labrie's trial lawyers were ineffective for failing to mount a defense against the computer charge.
The lead trial lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., is a well-known defense attorney whose clients included the late Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
After the trial, Carney unsuccessfully asked a judge to set aside the guilty verdict on the computer charge. It never occurred to him before the trial, he said, that it was an issue worth exploring.
Last year, the same court upheld his convictions on the computer charge. The court dismissed arguments by Labrie's lawyers that prosecutors failed to prove intent in his use of the computer and that the law was meant to be used to target sexual predators and pedophiles combing the internet, not in cases like this.
Prout spoke publicly about the assault for the first time in 2016. She has since become an advocate for sexual assault survivors and said Monday that she would "continue to fight" for their rights.
"I hope that schools, institutions and communities will hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes so that victims and survivors can continue to live their lives and truly thrive," Prout said in a statement.