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Court to Hear Prep School Grad’s Bid for New Trial

The New Hampshire Supreme Court says it will hear an appeal for a new trial from a prep school graduate who was convicted in 2015 of sexually assaulting a classmate. 

Owen Labrie is challenging a judge's denial of his request for a new trial. The high court's decision, reached last week, was made public Thursday. 

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The 21-year-old Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, was acquitted of raping a 15-year-old classmate the previous year as part of a game of sexual conquest at St. Paul's School in Concord. He was convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault and child endangerment, as well as using a computer to lure the girl for sex, a felony requiring him to register as a sex offender. 

Labrie also is appealing his convictions. That's on hold until the issue of whether he gets a new trial is resolved.

One of Labrie's former lawyers, Jaye Rancourt, said during a hearing in February that Labrie's lead attorney, J.W. Carney, wasn't fully-prepared for the trial. Rancourt was initially hired back in 2015 as local counsel, but was excused by Carney just before trial.

"The way I describe it as, the train was off the tracks," she said. 

The victim in the sex assault filed a lawsuit against the school last year. The complaint said that the victim and her family have been "devastated" by the school's failure to protect the girl from the "known risk" that she would be sexually harassed and assaulted.

St. Paul's School recently came into light again after officials at the school said they have substantiated claims of sexual misconduct by 13 former faculty and staffers, some of them accused of raping students while on campus.

The allegations ranged against 12 men and one woman who worked at the school between 1952 and 1999.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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