Owen Labrie is accused of raping another student at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire
Labrie, 19, said he had a consensual encounter with then-15-year-old girl but they didn't have sex
Accuser had to leave the courtroom for part of Labrie's testimony
Speaking in a calm and assured tone, the graduate of a prestigious New England prep school on trial for rape testified Wednesday that he put on a condom but didn’t have sex with a female fellow student because it “didn’t feel like the right move.”
With his accuser watching in the courtroom, 19-year-old Owen Labrie described the encounter last year with the now-16-year-old girl as consensual.
Labrie said that the two sneaked into an attic room in a St. Paul’s School academic building a few days before graduation and together spread a flannel blanket Labrie brought with him.
Sweatshirts, shirts and later pants were removed, he testified, but all of their underwear stayed on.
When a defense attorney asked about their demeanor, Labrie testified they were both giggling and smiling and that the girl held him in an affectionate way.
“I thought she was having a great time,” he said.
Labrie, 18 at the time, said that he may have gotten carried away at times, leading to bruises she reported on her breasts. They were both aroused, he said, so he went to put a condom on, but he stopped himself.
“I thought I was going to have sex with this girl,” he said, but after getting the condom, he testified, he changed his mind.
“It wouldn’t have been a good move to have sex with this girl,” he told the court. “It would not have been a good choice for me to make.”
The liaison awkwardly ended after a few more brief kisses, and Labrie hurried to a choir concert, he said.
The accuser, now 16, testified last week that Labrie penetrated her with his fingers before raping her.
“I was raped!” she said when a defense attorney suggested she had sent conflicting signals to the defendant.
On Wednesday, the defense depicted Labrie as a great student, on a full scholarship, who wanted to attend Harvard, take divinity classes and perhaps become a minister.
The prosecution repeatedly questioned him about telling friends after the encounter that he had sex with the girl.
He was bragging and lying, Labrie told the court.
He also said for the first time that his boxers were damp and he may have ejaculated on them before he put on a condom. He didn’t tell police about it, he said, because their questions focused on whether the two had sex.
On Tuesday, state criminalist Katie Swango said semen and sperm were found on the young woman’s underwear. Further testing of sperm cells found on the underwear were inconclusive. However, some of the biological material found on the underwear matched Labrie’s DNA, she said.
Another state criminalist, Kevin McMahon, said he examined a swab from the accuser’s cervix and found no evidence of sperm.
Labrie’s accuser didn’t stay in the courtroom for the entire testimony. As he was reading emails the two had exchanged, she stormed out of the courtroom, crying.
She returned when prosecutors questioned Labrie.
Labrie testified that the two knew each other through the girl’s older sister, whom he dated for a short time.
Prosecutors repeatedly asked the defendant about his use of the words “slay,” “pork” and “score” and the meaning they had in his conversations with male friends. Labrie testified they were terms used loosely that could mean a range of activities, from kissing to sex.
He testified later that he always kept a condom in his wallet, something he did throughout high school.
‘I tried to be as polite as possible”
The prosecution rested Tuesday. Labrie’s lawyers begin their defense on Wednesday. They have indicated Labrie will take the stand in his own defense.
The trial has brought unwanted attention to the elite school, the alma matter of Secretary of State John Kerry and half a dozen congressmen.
A campus tradition known as the “Senior Salute” has come under fire for allegedly encouraging seniors to have sexual encounters – ranging from kissing to intercourse – with as many younger female students as possible.
Labrie first told Concord police Detective Julie Curtin that the girl had the condom, and then he said it was his, the detective testified Tuesday. Labrie called the girl and her sister “angels,” the detective said, and insisted he would never have had sex with her because of her age.
Curtin said Labrie became frustrated because detectives kept asking about the “Senior Salute.” He said that seniors took younger girls’ virginity with a sense of pride and that younger girls were often proud to lose their virginity to seniors, Curtin said.
On the stand, the girl said she agreed to meet Labrie and accompany him to a machine room. When they kissed, she did not object, she testified. But soon he began to grope her. He bit her chest and tried to remove her underwear, she said.
“I said, ‘No, no, no, keep it up here,’ ” she testified, signaling above her waist. “I tried to be as polite as possible.”
Aaron Cooper and Boris Sanchez reported from New Hampshire and Steve Almasy wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Julia Talanova and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.