NH Prep School Grad in Sex Assault Case Seeks New Trial

A New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of sexually assaulting a classmate back in 2015 was in court again Wednesday for his second appeal.

This time, Owen Labrie is arguing for a new trial, citing ineffective counsel during his first trial.

After years of court proceedings that grabbed headlines nationwide, this is really Labrie’s last shot to get his name cleared.

As he left the courthouse Wednesday, Labrie stayed quiet, refusing to answer any questions from reporters.

The now 23-year-old St. Paul’s School graduate arguing that he deserves a new trial.

He was convicted in 2015 of sexually assaulting an underage classmate during a campus tradition called a “Senior Salute” – a game of sexual conquest before graduation.

Labrie was also convicted of a felony for using a computer to lure the minor for sex.

On Wednesday, his appellate attorney focused on that felony charge, saying Labrie’s former trial attorney, JW Carney, failed to defend his client against it.

“They misunderstood the law, it explains why they totally ignored this, not one word to the jury about this charge,” said Appellate Attorney Christopher Johnson. “The evidence was there to be used, the problem was they just didn’t use it for this charge.”

The state argues that Carney’s defense was successful, seeing as though Labrie was acquitted of the more serious rape charges.

“Had those charges been included in the defendant’s convictions, he would’ve faced an additional 30 to 60 years in New Hampshire State Prison,” said Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Sean Locke. “That acquittal is significant compared to the charges he was convicted of and the penalty he did face.”

That computer crime carries with it a lifetime on the sex offender registry and up to seven years behind bars. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court upheld that conviction, leaving Labrie with few options left besides this appeal.

If the court rules in his favor, Labrie will get a new trial in Merrimack County Superior Court and cannot be tried again on the rape charges. It could take the court up to six months to make a decision.

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