Owen Labrie Will Not Go Down Quietly; Nor Should He

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.

27 thoughts on “Owen Labrie Will Not Go Down Quietly; Nor Should He

  1. Tara Jakobs

    Thank you. Finally the truth begins to emerge. Slowly but surely, and more important, accurately, unlike the totally misinformed and misguided media frenzy of the last 22 months.

    1. SHG Post author

      This case is about one young man, not the gender wars. That so many have been all too happy to destroy his life in furtherance of their agenda is outrageous.

      1. Mike

        Scott. This is an excellent article. I have followed this case since last summer. Sure, the kid should not have pursued a girl under 16, but a felony! The young lady was not believed by the jury. They knew she was coached by the prosecutor and had a change of heart after the fact as shown in email communications. Kids make mistakes but to ruin Labrie’s life is repulsive. He is not the monster the media has crowned him, I assure you. I am hopeful the felony and sex registration will be deleted and Owen might have a chance at a life.

  2. bobo

    The media often fails very badly when it comes to explaining criminal legal procedure as you have pointed out here and on so many other occasions.
    There was another report that that mentioned trial counsel was the one of “the best money could buy” as if that meant it would not be possible to have ineffective assistance of counsel.

    1. SHG Post author

      That’s a double smear, not just as if that means Carney couldn’t make a mistake, but that Labrie was wealthy and entitled as well. And people are stupid enough not to realize that they’re being played.

      1. Mort

        And people are stupid enough not to realize that they’re being played.

        Sit down. I have something to tell it, and it’s going to make you sad…

  3. Simon Elliott

    Very good points. What troubles me most is using Owen Labrie as an avatar for the gender and PC culture wars, but not far behind is allowing fellow students to act as witnesses for the prosecution. The prosecution declines to indict the rich kids, and then uses them as witnesses against the poor kid on scholarship.

    1. SHG Post author

      The former is blamed on social justice warriors. The latter is blamed on St. Paul’s and the prosecution. Neither is, nor should be, acceptable.

  4. Mario Machado

    Assuming that Labrie’s trial attorneys did not try the case on the cheap, this is another case that shows that splurging on defense attorneys does not always equal top flight representation. Just ask Bill Cosby about the attorneys who handled his non-prosecution agreement in Pennsylvania.

  5. Mary Marsh

    Yes, finally, finally the truth! How long until Owen’s name is completely cleared?

  6. Pamela

    Thanks for writing this article.
    His conviction was unfair as far as I could see. The media has not provided accurate facts since the beginning so who could you believe anyway. Hoping that the felony will be overturned for him and realizing how much he has fought to defend himself till now, he has every right now that you’re article explains much better details than anything I have read till now. My worry is how much of an uphill battle will he have to be treated fairly.

    1. SHG Post author

      Post conviction is always far harder to prevail than before conviction. It will most assuredly be a battle, but to her credit, it appears that Jaye Rancourt is up for the fight.

      1. Pamela

        Sounds like she is and I hope they win. Reading the court docs in the article, she has a lot of valid points to argue about.
        Is there a risk that he could get a worse conviction if the retrial proceeds?

        1. SHG Post author

          Yes. If he should be retried and convicted, he would conceivably be subject to a harsher sentence.

  7. Kate

    This article plays into every victim blaming and victim shaming tactic out there. The messages mean nothing – in the aftermath of being assaulted it is not uncommon for victims to maintain contact with their abuser and act like everything is OK in an attempt to cling to normalcy and try to convince themselves everything is ok. And it is irrelevant what was in her underwear in addition to Labrie’s semen – it makes what he did no less a crime.

    And finally, since we’re on the subject of breaking the law, how dare you publish the victim’s name.

    And most importantly,

    1. SHG Post author

      The “victim blaming” and “victim shaming” tropes are the sort of rationalization that only plays to a select group of people who believe that rationalizations overcome facts, and allow them to dismiss reality that conflicts with their fantasy view of how the world should revolve around their feelings. Crimes aren’t created by women’s fantasy view of life, no matter how angry that makes them. Facts don’t require feminist approval to be material and relevant, no matter how strongly your passionate feelings compel you to believe otherwise.

      For that matter, it’s not “breaking the law” to publish a complaining witnesses name, even when you call her the “victim.” Yet another piece of your fantasy. That said, I didn’t publish her name.

      “And most importantly,” what? Did the meds kick in?

  8. Anonymous

    It is bizarre that Jay Carney did not address each and every one of the felony counts. Aside from the oversight on the computer solicitation felony charge, he didn’t once go into the fact that the victim’s account didn’t mention 2 of the 3 types of penetration felony & misdemeanor charges. I also question why Carney didn’t call any defense witnesses to the stand. From everything I have read and seen from the trial and the details, it would appear as though the whole trial was somehow rigged and Labrie was an easy fall guy for the school and for the other students involved because, unlike them, he didn’t come from a legacy family. He was somehow disposable. Another point that seems to be weirdly overlooked is the role of the school nurse. Wouldn’t she have commented that the girl was under the age of consent regardless if it was consensual and regardless of the age of the person she was having sex with? It really appears as though Labrie was framed for the convenience of the school and for the sake of relieving legacy families from public shame: the circumstantial evidence just isn’t enough to warrant the number of felony and misdemeanor counts against Labrie. The truth needs to come out. Something is not right in this. Solitary confinement is enough to destroy any human being. So i really hope that the prosecution and the judge are utterly confident in their recommendation.

    1. SHG Post author

      Sometimes, there’s a tactical reason to not challenge a particular charge or make a specific argument. Rancourt’s motion goes to some length (as it must to overcome this question) to show that there is no possible tactical basis or benefit for some of Carney’s decisions.

      That said, it’s hard to conceive of Carney being in some sort of conspiracy with the school to undermine his client. Mistakes happen, but intentionally burning your client requires more than wild speculation. There is nothing to show any intentional impropriety by Carney here.

  9. SGrace

    Were Owen Labrie’s dalliance with the 15 year old girl an isolated event in an 18 year old life, then yes possibly the line would be decidedly grayer than it is. However, by his and other St. Paul seniors’ own admissions, Owen Labrie was systematically and doggedly pursuing young freshmen teen girls for sex. His moniker, “The Slayer” was not because he was righteously slaying evil or dragons or criminals. No, he was a predator, albeit quite young, who was using charm, and cunning, and undoubtedly, guile, to maximize his sexual conquests before graduation. That he was a smart, White, prep school 18 year old with such promise in cahoots with like-minded seniors does not decriminalize his actions. It just shows that the other seniors possibly got away with soliciting sex with minors. In other words, that it was accepted behavior by a male of his demographic makes what he did no less of a crime.

    1. SHG Post author

      No, he was a predator, albeit quite young, who was using charm, and cunning, and undoubtedly, guile, to maximize his sexual conquests before graduation.

      Young men have used charm, cunning “and undoubtedly, guile” to pursue young women forever. Young women have used charm, cunning “and undoubtedly, guile” to pursue young men forever. Inserting the word predator into behaviors that have always happened, and are employed by all genders, doesn’t make it any more, or less, of a crime. Crimes are based upon law, which include elements of conduct, that either are or are not violated.

      There is nothing inherently criminal about using charm, cunning “and undoubtedly, guile,” to pursue members of the opposite sex. That isn’t altered by inserting scary buzzwords like “predator” into otherwise ordinary reality.

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