CONCORD, N.H. – A lawyer for a recent graduate of an elite prep school accused of raping a freshman last year began cross-examining his accuser Wednesday, asking whether she told her close friend in graphic details which sex acts she was prepared to engage in.
Nineteen-year-old Owen Labrie is charged with raping the then-15-year-old girl at St. Paul's School in Concord two days before he graduated last year.
Defense attorney J.W. Carney, reading from a Concord police affidavit detailing the friend's interview, asked the accuser if she had talked to her friend about what she would let Labrie do to her.
The girl responded that she had no recollection of that.
She testified that Labrie bit her breast and tried to pull her underwear off in a school building on May 30, 2014. On the witness stand, the girl said she was in pain when he bit her and during intercourse but said nothing to Labrie, who was 18 at the time.
"I'm thinking how naive of myself, and I never should have left my room that night," she testified. "I felt like I was out of my body. ... I didn't want to believe this was happening to me."
She testified she felt "frozen" when he became aggressive and she initially felt like the sex assault was her fault for not kicking or screaming or trying to push him off.
Prosecutors have said the rape occurred as part of a tradition at St. Paul's called "Senior Salute" in which seniors try to have sex with or romance underclassmen.
Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, has pleaded not guilty to several felony charges and maintains the two had consensual sexual contact — a misdemeanor considering their ages — but did not have intercourse, which would be a felony.
Carney told jurors Tuesday that emails between the two suggest the girl was a willing participant.
Carney, who minimized the Senior Salute element, read to jurors from a string of emails between the two before and immediately after they got together the night. In them, the freshman agreed to meet Labrie, saying "only if it's our little secret."
When questioned about seemingly breezy emails and Facebook exchanges in the hours after their encounter — including messages in which she repeated uses "ha ha ha" — the now-16-year-old girl explained, "I didn't want to show weakness. ... I wanted to control a situation where I completely lost control."
The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted.
Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle described the Senior Salute as "the context for this entire event."
St. Paul's is a member of a group of elite U.S. prep schools and counts as alumni an international roster of senators, congressmen, ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates and two World Series of Poker winners.
The girl testified Wednesday that when he tried to move lower on her body, she grabbed his head and said, "No, no, no. Keep it up here." She said she expected that "he would respect me."
She testified Labrie laughed and called her "a tease."
The teen said she initially declined Labrie's invitation to participate in the Senior Salute. She said she was familiar with the tradition.
"I thought his intentions were really wrong," she testified, but she said she relented when a friend convinced her that Labrie was sincere in trying to pay some attention to her. She said that she never thought it would involve a sex act and that she was prepared for kissing at most.
Responding to a question from Carney, the girl acknowledge she'd received at least two other invitations by other boys to Senior Salutes and ignored both.
Carney questioned her for barely a half hour before court closed for the day. Cross-examination is set to resume Thursday.
The teen said Wednesday that she returned to St. Paul's School last fall but left in November. No explanation was given.