Roughly two months after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old classmate as part of a rampant sexual conquest among fellow students, Owen Labrie, has finally been sentenced, receiving just one year in prison for the crime.
Owen Labrie, 20, a former student-athlete at an elite New Hampshire prep school who was convicted of sexually assaulting an underage classmate was officially handed down his sentence on Oct. 29. Though prosecutors originally asked that he face 3.5 to 7 years in jail for the May 2014 assault, a judge sentenced him to just one year in prison and five years of probation, while chastising the former student as “a very good liar.”
“You’re going to do a year in the House of Corrections and probation, that’s the bottom line,” New Hampshire Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler told the St. Paul’s prep school graduate at the sentencing on Oct. 29. He said he believed that even though the jury acquitted him of rape charges doesn’t mean the sex was consensual. “This was not consensual,” Judge Smukler said. “I believe that you are not the angel as portrayed by your counsel. But neither are you the devil as portrayed by the prosecution.” With his sentencing, Owen must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
In August, Owen, an aspiring divinity school student, was convicted on three misdemeanor sexual assault charges and one felony charge of “using a computer to lure a minor for sexual contact,” but he was found not guilty of felony rape. Though he could have received 11 years in prison, the prosecution asked three-and-a-half to seven years with sex offender treatment. Ultimately, the judge said he reached the decision on his punishment with the victim in mind.
Owen’s victim, who maintains she was raped by the the 18-year-old, provided a moving video statement during the sentencing hearing. “In the past almost year and half since I’ve been sexually assaulted, I’ve led some of the scariest, hardest days of my life,” she said. “[I’m] living in constant fear of everything and everyone. …What he did to me made me feel like I didn’t belong on this planet and that I would be better off dead. I’m not only pushing for justice for myself, but for others as well. I’m so, so scared that he will do this again.”
Police began an investigation into Owen’s conduct in June 2014 after the victim — who was a freshman at the time —reported he raped her as part of the school’s annual, unofficial sex competition, the “Senior Salute,” which included having sex with a number of girls Owen allegedly has listed on a list he called his “slut f-king bucket list.” Though Owen claimed throughout the trial that he never had sex with the victim during the course of their encounter, Facebook messages and texts showed he told friends he “pulled every trick in the book” to get her to go from “‘no’ to ‘bone.’”
“This was a mission for him. This was a sexual conquest. And it was a gain,”Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle said. “She didn’t know that he was a target on his list.”
Owen can apply to be removed from the sex offender registry in 15 years.
— Alyssa Montemurro