On Friday, 19-year-old Owen Labrie, formerly of St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, was found not guilty of raping a fellow student. He was found guilty of comparatively minor misdemeanor charges, but cleared of felony rape charges by a jury that had debated for seven hours to reach the verdict. Labrie had consistently denied that he had raped the girl when he was a senior at St. Paul's, an elite boarding school in New Hampshire. The trial captivated many who were fascinated with, among other boarding school rituals, the traditional St. Paul's "Senior Salute," wherein a senior propositions a younger girl at the school.
While both parties had agreed that the girl, who maintains she was raped by Labrie, were intimate, the question was whether Labrie had raped her, or whether he had left before any intercourse occurred. Had Labrie been found guilty of rape, he could have faced years in prison; instead, the jury convicted him of a misdemeanor statutory rape charge, as well as charges related to his sexually enticing a minor. Generally, however, the verdict was a victory for Labrie and his defense team, which had maintained from the get-go that, although both teenagers had lied about what exactly happened between them, Labrie had not raped the younger student.