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Aug 19, 2015 8:16 PM

Owen Labrie's rape accuser takes stand, 'tried to block out feeling' during encounter at St. Paul's


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story includes graphic details of an alleged rape, and may be disturbing to some readers. If you are a victim of sexual assault, and need to talk, please call New Hampshire's Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence at: 1-800-277-5570.

CONCORD - The teenage girl who was allegedly raped by a graduating senior during a sordid sexual competition at St. Paul's School said Wednesday that she felt guilty after meeting up with Owen Labrie.

The now 16-year-old said even though she tried to put on a strong front, and was cordial to Labrie after the alleged attack, she knew that what had happened to her was wrong.

The teen told Assistant County Attorney Catherine Ruffle that she initially turned down Labrie's Senior Salute requests because his email inviting her to participate was "too pretentious" and seemed like a form letter he sent to many girls. But later, after talking to a friend her own age, she changed her mind.

"I thought, 'Okay, I might as well not judge as harshly this time,'" the teen said, adding that she asked him to keep their planned get together a secret.

The teen told Ruffle she thought he might try to kiss her, as they met up at the school's math and science building, but she never expected what happened next.

Labrie used keys handed down to him for the salute to break into a mechanical room. He took her onto the roof, but because the surface was slick due to a recent rainfall, the duo went back inside the dark mechanical room, where she could hear the humming of machines.

"He took me behind a concrete wall, and started to kiss me," she said. "He very quickly tried to take off my sweatshirt."

Although she consented to the kissing, she did not want to go further, she told Ruffle. She choked up as she talked about Labrie allegedly ripping at her bra to get to her breasts.

"At some point he puts me on the ground... he continued to kiss me... I stood up... he pushed me against the wall," the teen said. "He took both of my hands and put them up above my head... he tried to give me a massage... that's when he pushed me to the ground... he got on top of me... I got on top of him... then he got on top of me and stayed there the rest of the time."

The teen said that Labrie took off her shorts and tossed them aside, before trying to take off her underwear. She tried to stop him, but he bit her ear, chest and private parts as he continued to have his way with her.

Eventually, as she realized she was being penetrated the teen went numb and had what she described as an out-of-body experience.

"I tried to block out the feeling as much as I could. I looked up at the ceiling. I didn't say anything," she said.

The teen immediately felt guilt.

"I thought, 'How naïve of myself... I never should have left my room tonight... If I could move, I could have stopped it," she said.

Afterwards, Labrie left the teen to fend for herself. She put her shorts back on and walked downstairs in pain, and back to her dorm, where she confided in a few girlfriends.

The girls convinced Labrie's alleged victim to contact him to ask if he used a condom. She began to worry about STDs and pregnancy.

She was even more upset after interacting with him.

"He made it seem like he had no idea that I was saying 'No,'" she told Ruffle. "I thought to myself, 'This is my fault.'"

When the girl went to her school nurse for prescribed depression and anxiety medication, she asked for Plan B. She told her mother, went to Concord Hospital and reported the alleged crime to police.

Labrie's attorney took the opportunity to ask a few hard-hitting questions after Ruffle finished her direct examination of the teen. He asked how many Senior Salute invitations she had received that year, about her interview with Concord police, and about electronic messages before the alleged rape.

At one point, when he was displeased with her responses, Jay Carney said, "I think things would go better if I asked a question, and you answered 'yes' or 'no.' Do you understand?"

She said she did.

Carney said the teen had expectations about what would happen during the meeting with Labrie, and said she told a friend she would have oral sex with him.

Carney also brought up her parents, who were in the courtroom.

"You didn't want your parents to know you accepted a Senior Salute, did you?" he asked.

It was after the teen told her mother that she went to the hospital and pressed charges.

On Tuesday, Carney told the jury his client would have been a catch for any freshman to get a Senior Salute from. He said most girls were honored for such chances to participate in the activity, where many male members of the senior class used the opportunity for last-minute bonding as a chance to conquer as many girls as they could sexually.

Carney's comments have infuriated women. On Wednesday, Crisis Advocate Paula Kelley-Wall talked with NH1 News about rape culture, saying it is never an honor to be sexually assaulted.

See her interview with NH1 News below:

The trial will continue Thursday at 9 a.m.

Kimberley Haas is live Tweeting from the trial. Follow her at @KHaasNH1.


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