The Concord Monitor makes a point in its opening line:
Owen Labrie refuses to go down quietly.
And, indeed, why should he? His sentence is a year in jail, and now that Judge Larry Smuckler has revoked his bail pending appeal, forcing him into solitary “for his own protection,” there isn’t a lot of time to wait for an appellate court to reverse his conviction for being the high school boy hated, no, despised, for being little different than every high school boy prior to the Great Neutering.
Hate the Great Neutering all you like, but don’t make Owen Labrie responsible for your angst over rape culture. He’s just a kid, a scholarship student at St. Paul’s who worked hard enough, was smart enough, to get into Harvard. He’s a young man who did what young men have done for generations, seduce a young woman to engage in a sexual liaison. Like your father did. Like your grandfather did.
It’s horribly wrong? That’s a discussion to have going forward, but this one young man is not the embodiment of all that you despise about males. He’s just a kid, like all the others, except paying the price for your Utopian vision of gender relations. And so one young man, one family, is doing everything they can to not let women slit the throat of this young man in the name of all that anger and hatred of women toward males.
Does this go too far? Consider the cries of Anna Merlan at Jezebel, that hotbed of deep feminist thought:
In the classic tradition of responsibility-evading white men the world over, Owen Labrie has filed a motion requesting a new trial after his conviction on sexual assault charges. Labrie, who was also recently sentenced to a year for violating his probation, has a new attorney, who is arguing that his old ones provided an inadequate defense.
So Merian lacks the basic acumen to distinguish bail revocation from a sentence for violating probation. No big deal, as knowledge and actual understanding is a tool of the patriarchy used to silence feminist voices. But her “classic tradition” opening reveals the crux of her position: Owen Labrie should suffer for the sins of all white men against . . . whomever.
Jaye Rancourt, Labrie’s appellate and post-conviction counsel, who was local counsel to J. W. Carney but precluded from involvement at trial,* has simultaneously waged war on three fronts. There is the direct appeal of the conviction, which she has moved to hold in abeyance pending a motion for a new trial based upon ineffective assistance of counsel. Plus there is an appeal of Judge Smuckler’s bail revocation for trivial violations of a ridiculous and onerous curfew condition of 5 p.m.
The motion for a new trial, raising a significant and tactically inexplicable failure on Carney’s part to challenge the sole felony charge upon which Labrie was convicted, reveals a legal conflict that cannot rationally survive objective scrutiny.
The one felony count, involving the use of a computer, was left unchallenged, before, during and after the trial.
The Computer Offense statute, RSA 649-B:4, prohibits individuals from “knowingly utiliz[ing] a computer on-line service, internet service, or local bulletin board service to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child … to commit” one of an enumerated set of sexual offenses. The language and structure of the statute make clear that, for the statute to apply, the state must prove that the defendant took advantage of – that is, “utilized” .. – the special characteristics of internet services to “seduce, solicit, lure, or entice” a child.
This felony was directed toward the fear of pedophiles using computers, chat rooms, to “lure” girls to their sexual doom. As opposed to what happened here, where these students constantly used Facebook, the computer, for all communications, as does every high school student in America at every waking moment.
Accordingly, it is not the use of the internet and other electronic communications services – standing alone – that implicates the concern animating the statute. Instead, the legislature intended to target the use of such communications services to the extent such uses take advantage of or otherwise capitalize upon the special characteristics that distinguish a computer-based communication from more traditional modes.
Why did Carney neglect to challenge the application of this count? There is no objective reason. There was no tactical advantage to letting it slide. There is no strategic benefit to be had. It just, inexplicably, slipped through the cracks, and ended up being the count that gave rise to the one felony for which Labrie was convicted.
But buried within the motion are other bits, facts, that are ignored as they don’t further the narrative. Footnote 1, for example:
1 There was evidence that a stain was noted on C.P.’s underwear. At least a portion of the stain was semen. A DNA analysis indicated the presence of Mr. Labrie’s DNA, however, the DNA sample attributable to semen/sperm could not be said to have included Mr. Labrie because the DNA of three or more individuals was noted. TT. Day 5, pp. 809-810.
This isn’t noted to “slut-shame,” as some might shriek, but because the tears of how this evil male defiled and traumatized this young woman for life are a lie. C.P. was entitled to have as many guys’ semen as she wanted on her undies, but then, let’s not turn Labrie’s tryst into the thing that destroyed her life.
But it gets worse. The other St. Paul’s males, the ones paying full freight to attend the school rather than on scholarship like Labrie, who testified against Labrie, also sent C.P. computer messages seeking a sexual tryst. Yes, exactly what Labrie was convicted for doing, except it never came out on cross that the good guys who testified for the prosecution were as guilty, if there is anything to be guilty of, as the defendant. And these witnesses lied about their relationship to C.P. at trial.
And still, there’s more. It appears from subsequent Facebook messages that C.P. was hardly troubled by her dalliance with Labrie, but in fact rather proud of her engagement. It wasn’t until she caught some flack for her consensual conduct that it magically morphed into the trauma that compelled her to cry rape.
There was evidence provided in discovery, and alluded to at trial, that an incident regarding a post on Facebook caused C.P. to become upset and caused her to call her mother claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Mr. Labrie. . . This exchange indicates that the Facebook post had “pushed her over the edge.” Exhibit E. At one point in the text exchange, Claudia writes “and she [C.P.] wouldn’t have cared if all the shit after didn’t happen.”
There will never be a shortage of excuses and rationalizations to explain why the facts don’t matter, why “survivors” are entitled to say anything contrary to their claims, and why the male, even if he’s a boy in high school, should pay the price for rape culture. But none of that changes the fact that Owen Labrie has been hung out to dry on behalf of all the anger and hatred directed at “white men.”
The facts of what happened matter, and that trial counsel inexplicably failed to use those facts, challenge the law, on behalf of his client demanded airing. Hate men for sex all you want, but that anger doesn’t change the fact that destroying one high school boy’s life in the name of gender war isn’t the answer. Owen Labrie will not go down quietly. Nor should he. He shouldn’t go down at all.
*There would appear to be a subtext of disagreement between trial counsel, Carney, and local counsel, Rancourt, compelling Carney to seek the court’s preclusion of Rancourt from being involved in the trial of this matter. Jezebel naturally, dives down the rabbit hole by contending that it’s disingenuous of Rancourt to challenge Carney’s failings:
Hilariously, Rancourt, the new lawyer, was actually on his defense team at trial, but “did not take an active role in the trial proceedings,” as Boston.com writes.
Factual accuracy is such a classic tradition of white men.