Prosecutors say St. Paul’s School graduate Owen Labrie broke his curfew, want to revoke bail

  • Former St. Paul's student Owen Labrie leaves Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, New Hampshire Friday after his guilty verdict. Defense attorney Jay Carney escorts him out to his car

Monitor staff
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Prosecutors in Concord asked Monday to revoke the bail of Owen Labrie, the St. Paul’s School graduate convicted of having sex with an underage student, claiming he violated the terms of his release at least eight times.

The allegation stems from an article published last week on Vice ’s website, in which a freelance reporter recounted running into the 20-year-old one afternoon last month on an MBTA train from Cambridge, Mass., to Boston. The Feb. 29 exchange was detailed that day on Twitter.

As part of his bail, Labrie is required to be at his mother’s house in Tunbridge, Vt., between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. In the tweets, the reporter, Susan Zalkind, said Labrie told her he had been traveling back and forth from Vermont to Cambridge regularly to visit a Harvard student whom he said he was dating.

“Labrie seems nervous only about the time,” Zalkind wrote. “The train is still stalled. He has to take a bus to Dartmouth and be home by 5 p.m. to make curfew.”

In a motion filed Monday in Merrimack County Superior Court, Deputy County Attorney Catherine Ruffle cited the tweets and wrote, “upon information and belief, the state asserts that the defendant has violated a condition of his release by failing to comply with his curfew, traveling outside the parameters of his curfew at least eight times.”

Ruffle has requested a hearing, and she said she will present evidence at that time.

Labrie’s attorney, Jaye Rancourt, said she didn’t have enough information yet to properly respond. She noted that Zalkind’s tweets specifically relayed that Labrie knew and worried about meeting his curfew, which indicates “he was in compliance.”

Labrie will have 10 days to reply in court to the allegations. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled.

Labrie stood trial in August, accused of raping an underage female schoolmate when he was 18. He was acquitted of felony sexual assault charges and found guilty of misdemeanor statutory rape charges. In addition, jurors found him guilty of one felony for his use of Facebook and email to “seduce, solicit, lure or entice” the 15-year-old.

Labrie’s trial attorney, J.W. Carney, argued the computer-use felony didn’t fit the intent of the statute and the resulting penalty – up to seven years in prison and lifetime sex offender status – and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The convictions are being appealed to the state Supreme Court.

According to Zalkind, Labrie had only recently begun traveling out for day trips. “It was a process that was at times rewarding, with strangers approaching him to offer their support,” she wrote. “Strangers have also come up to him and literally thrown blows, he told me, miming a punch to the face.”

Labrie has legally traveled overnight once since the sentencing, to visit an ailing grandparent in Michigan. The court agreed to the two-day trip in December.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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