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Aug 25, 2015 7:38 PM

1 charge dropped against Owen Labrie; Facebook evidence, DNA results focus of Tuesday testimony in rape trial


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains graphic language, and may be offensive to some readers.

CONCORD - Judge Larry Smukler dismissed the charge of endangering the welfare of a child against Owen Labrie with prejudice Tuesday, after the state admitted it did not meet its burden of proof.

The charge said that Labrie encouraged the teenage girl he is accused of raping to have sexual contact with him, and purposefully violated his duty of care to the youth. The state theorized that as a student leader Prefect, he owed her protection and support, but during the trial, testimony showed Labrie only had a duty to teens in his own dormitory.

The decision came after a long day of testimony from Concord detectives and criminalists working for the state.

Detective Julie Curtain resumed her testimony Tuesday morning, saying Labrie denied having sex with the complainant both on the phone and during a nearly four-hour long interview held last spring at the Concord Police Department.

Labrie did tell Curtain about a "Freshman/Senior Lust," where senior men take the virginity of younger girls, but said it was usually consensual. He told the detective he thought the alleged victim was pretty, and he wanted to kiss her.

On the night in question, Curtain said, Labrie thought the girl was being playful, and teasing him.

"They ended up taking off each other's sweatshirts... He bit her breast area over her bra... There was a ridiculous amount of rolling around," Curtain said Labrie told her.

When she asked about the condom he put on, he told her he did it for fun.

"He thought it would be more of a tease to put the condom on," Curtain said.

When faced with the decision of whether or not to have sex with the girl, Labrie told police he had a moment of "divine inspiration" and "self-restraint."

Curtain described how police obtained 12,000 pages of Facebook evidence, and 20,000 pages of email evidence against Labrie. Police officers investigating crimes contact Facebook and have them preserve all of a suspect's information. They can even see deleted posts.

Because Labrie used the email provided by St. Paul's School to contact the girl, the school was able to provide all of the emails he sent during his entire senior year.

During the afternoon session, Katie Swango, a criminalist with New Hampshire State Police, said there is a "reasonable degree of scientific certainty" that Owen Labrie was the male contributor of DNA found in the complainant's underwear. Labrie's attorney, Jay Carney, said afterward that is not the case.

"They were unable to identify anyone, not the least of which our client, in the important scientific and biological evidence," Carney said, as camera crews hovered around him.

The Labrie trial has brought media from all over the country to Merrimack County Superior Court. The case fascinates people, according to UNH Law Professor Buzz Scherr, because it involves students at an elite prep school, and a sordid tradition of sexual competition prior to graduation.

NH1's Kimberley Haas is live Tweeting from the trial. You can follow her @KHaasNH1.


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