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New Hampshire Prep School Rape Accuser: 'I Felt Frozen'

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A teenage girl who accused a senior at an elite New Hampshire prep school of raping her last year told jurors Wednesday that she felt "frozen" when he became aggressive.

The accuser testified that Owen Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, bit her breast and tried to pull her underwear off in a building at St. Paul's School two days before his graduation in 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. She was a 15-year-old freshman.

"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."

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 underclassmen.

Labrie, now 19, 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.

Defense attorney J.W. 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 of May 30, 2014. In them, the freshman agreed to meet Labrie, saying "only if it's our little secret."

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, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates and Secretary of State John Kerry.

On the witness stand Tuesday, the girl broke down crying and pointed at Labrie when asked if he was in the courtroom. The petite student, her ash blond hair pulled back from her face, told jurors that the two were not friends and that he was a classmate of her older sister.

Prosecutors say she told Labrie "no" but was overpowered.

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 relented when a friend persuaded her that Labrie was sincere in trying to pay some attention to her. She said she never thought it would involve a sex act.

The rape investigation began several days after the encounter and Labrie was arrested in July 2014. He had been accepted to Harvard but is no longer enrolled there.

Carney said after court Tuesday that he is looking forward to his chance to question the accuser.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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