St. Paul’s School: Rape Trial Targets Sexual Culture at Elite New Hampshire Campus

A former student at an elite New Hampshire prep school is going on trial on charges he raped a 15-year-old girl on campus. But it’s not just the defendant who’s facing judgment.

The rape allegedly occurred at the prestigious St. Paul’s School, whose alumni Secretary of State John Kerry, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau and several members of Congress. The trial is expected to cast a spotlight on unsavory aspects of its on-campus sexual culture — including accusations of graduating boys’ competitive pursuit of younger students.

The man on trial, 19-year-old Owen Labrie, is accused of repeatedly raping the girl on the roof of a school building in May 2014, according to The Associated Press. He’s charged with three counts of aggravated felony sex assault, endangering the welfare of a child and using a computer to lure her to meet him. He has pleaded not guilty and said he never had sexual intercourse with his accuser. Jury selection began Monday.

But Labrie has reportedly told police that the allegations stem from a tradition at the school in which seniors seek out younger female students for sexual conquest. The “Senior Salute,” as he described it, involves a contest in which boys compete to “score” with the most girls, according to the AP, which quoted an affidavit of an interview he gave with a Concord, New Hampshire, police detective.

At Labrie’s trial, prosecutors are expected to call current and former students to testify about the sexual environment at the school, the AP reported.

In a statement posted to the St. Paul’s website on Monday, the school’s rector, Michael Hirschfeld, said the “allegations about our culture are not emblematic of our school or our values, our rules, or the people that represent our student body, alumni, faculty, and staff.”

He also pointed out that the allegations were “not proven facts, and the judicial system will weigh them and determine how this case is ultimately resolved.” He promised that the school would emerge from the case “stronger, united, and committed, as always, to ensuring our students’ safety and wellbeing.”

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/rape-trial-targets-sexual-culture-elite-st-pauls-school-n411006