Prosecutors File Response in Prep School Rape Case

The state of New Hampshire has filed a brief in its case that a felony conviction should stand against a former student of an elite prep school convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old freshman days before he graduated.

Thursday evening, five minutes before a 4 p.m. deadline, prosecutors responded to Owen Labrie's motion to dismiss the felony charge against him.

In 23 pages, the state explains why it believes Labrie deserves to spend years behind bars and a lifetime on the sex offender registry.

Labrie was convicted in August on several misdemeanors for having sex with a minor - a fellow student at St. Paul's - during a tradition called the "Senior Salute."

Because Labrie and the 15-year-old set up the meeting online, the jury also convicted him of prohibited use of a computer - a felony that carries up to seven years behind bars and forces Labrie to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Labrie's attorney filed a motion last month calling the punishment "wildly disproportionate" and "unconstitutional," arguing that the felony charge should be dismissed.

On Thursday, the state asked the court to deny that motion, saying the defendant is minimizing the seriousness of his conduct.

Prosecutors say Labrie deceived the young girl through Facebook messages and lured her into a situation where he could sexually assault her - a crime that the state says falls squarely within the statute.

The judge has up to 60 days to issue a ruling.

Court officials say that will likely happen before Labrie's sentencing date on Oct. 29.

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