St. Paul Prep School Sued over Sex Case
An elite New England prep school was sued by the parents of an underage female student who was lured into a sexual encounter with a graduating upperclassman.
About the Lawsuit
According to Reuters, the federal lawsuit alleges that administrators at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, knowingly tolerated a tradition known as “senior salute,” in which senior students sought to have sexual encounters with as many freshmen as possible.
Owen Labrie was found guilty in 2015 of having sex with an underage girl just days before his 2014 graduation. The girl was 15 at the time and below the age of consent.
Labrie was also found guilty of a felony charge of using a computer to lure the teen. The high-profile trial shone a harsh light on the culture of the elite 160-year-old school, whose alumni include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The lawsuit alleges that the girl was sexually assaulted “as a direct result of SPS' fostering, permitting and condoning a tradition of ritualized statutory rape (referred to as the 'Senior Salute') among its students and SPS' utter failure to meet its most basic obligations to protect the children entrusted to its care.”
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire seeks unspecified damages on several legal grounds, including negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
New Hampshire Statutory Rape Laws
According to legal source NOLO:
- In New Hampshire, people who engage in sexual activity with children under the age of consent (age 16) can be convicted of sexual assault (also called statutory rape).
- Under New Hampshire’s statutory rape laws, the determinative fact is the age of the victim and the age difference between the victim and the defendant. It does not matter whether the victim consented to or pursued the intimate relationship.