There's been a surprising twist in the rape trial of an elite New England prep school graduate who allegedly assaulted a freshman girl days before his graduation.
The judge dismissed one of the 10 charges against 19-year-old Owen Labrie after defense attorney J.W. Carney made an oral argument at the end of the day Tuesday. Carney argued the state did not prove the "endangering the welfare of a child" charge against Labrie. The state agreed and the judge dismissed it.
Labrie is accused of raping a 15-year-old freshman inside a secluded rooftop mechanical room two days before he graduated in 2014, as part of a supposed tradition at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, called the "Senior Salute."
Days later the alleged victim went to police, and police went to Labrie.
As the case continued Tuesday in Merrimack County Superior Court, Concord Police Detective Julie Curtin told the jury what Owen Labrie told her about his encounter with the alleged victim.
"There was a ridiculous amount of rolling around, pants came off, and it was all a tease," Curtin said. "They were teasing each other."
During an interview with Concord police, Curtin says she asked Labrie about the "Senior Salute" - described by graduates, including Labrie, as a last chance invitation from a senior to get to know a younger student.
"For some of them, it was just a walk around the park, for some it was the virginity thing and he again said that was not why he was there," Curtin said.
Curtin testified that during the nearly four-hour interview, Labrie did say he put on a condom, but denied ever having sex with the young girl.
"He said he felt a moment of self-restraint and stopping, like a divine inspiration, and he stood up abruptly and sprinted off with the condom still on," Curtin said. "He said, 'telling you I was inside her would be the end of my life.'"
Two state forensic specialists testified to finding DNA on the alleged victim's underwear, most of it they say was from her, some from Labrie. There were also traces of sperm that couldn't be identified.
"As far as what I saw, there is no way to tell because of the complexity of it," explained Katie Swango with the State Police Forensic Lab.
She also said there is no conclusion to be drawn about how it got there.
When Carney was asked if Labrie is still expected to take the stand, he replied, "I will present my case tomorrow."
The defense will call its witnesses Wednesday.