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St. Paul’s graduate charged with sexual assault of 15-year-old fellow student

An 18-year-old graduate of St. Paul’s School in Concord has been charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old fellow student, as part of what the police said was a competition with other students to have sexual contact with as many girls as they could before leaving the school.

Owen Labrie of Tunbridge, Vt., turned himself in to the Concord police yesterday morning, Lt. Timothy O’Malley said. He has been charged with three counts of felonious sexual assault, as well as three misdemeanor counts of sexual assault. Labrie also faces a felony charge of using a computer service to lure the girl to him.

The alleged assault took place the evening of May 30, two nights before graduation at the prestigious boarding school. O’Malley said Labrie and others were competing to “hook up with” girls before the end of the school year.

“That’s slang, but that’s the best way I can describe it,” O’Malley said. “A competition with other students to meet or hook up with other females, and this was part of that competition.”

The police did not say how many students participated in the competition.

Labrie reportedly used an email account to communicate with the girl and entice her to meet him. O’Malley said Labrie allegedly took the victim to a building on St. Paul’s campus where they were not authorized to be and forced her to participate in sexual acts. Alcohol and drugs were not involved, O’Malley said.

Labrie graduated June 1. The victim reported the alleged incident to the school, and June 3, a St. Paul’s employee contacted the Concord Police Department. After a monthlong investigation, O’Malley said the police contacted Labrie with a warrant for his arrest.

“He agreed to turn himself in,” O’Malley said.

During the investigation, O’Malley said the police have not uncovered any other allegations of sexual assault as part of this reported competition among St. Paul’s students.

“This competition, quote unquote, it’s not clear that other participants were necessarily intent on committing crimes or violating other people’s rights,” O’Malley said. “We allege in this case that (Labrie) did that to this person.”

St. Paul’s has cooperated with the investigation, O’Malley said.

“They were appropriately mortified at the allegations,” he said.

The school’s rector, Mike Hirschfeld, addressed Labrie’s arrest yesterday in a message to parents.

“When this matter was first brought to our attention by the young woman involved, we reported it to the authorities, as is our obligation, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement,” Hirschfeld wrote. “This situation has been alarming to me personally and to all adults here, in a community that values healthy relationships so highly.

“Whatever further developments become known in this case, a serious breach of our standards of mutual trust and respect has occurred. I am determined to learn if this alleged violation is an aberration or represents a broader issue that our many School-wide conversations about a healthy community have not sufficiently addressed.”

St. Paul’s houses about 540 high school students. Labrie played on the soccer team while he was a student. An article on the St. Paul’s website includes Labrie in a list of 14 students who were inducted into its Cum Laude Society this year to recognize their academic excellence. Before his Facebook page was deleted yesterday afternoon, his profile noted he was bound for Harvard University in the fall.

A spokesman for Harvard declined to comment on Labrie’s case.

“We do not discuss any individuals who may have been admitted to the college,” he said.

According to the school’s policies, Harvard admission is contingent on several conditions. A student’s admission could be withdrawn if he or she has a sudden drop in grades, fails to receive a diploma, lies on his or her application or engages in “behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity or moral character.”

Labrie was released yesterday on $15,000 personal recognizance bail. If convicted, he could potentially face multiple years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 15 in Concord.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

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