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St. Paul's Trial: Defense Rests, Closing Arguments Begin Thursday

Charles Krupa/AP Pool
Owen Labrie, a former student at St. Paul's School in Concord, is accused of raping a fellow student last year. He took the stand on Wednesday.

The defense has rested in the trial involving the alleged rape of a 15-year-old freshman at St. Paul’s School in Concord. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday morning.

The 19-year-old defendant Owen Labrie was on the stand all day Wednesday. Labrie told the jury that he played varsity soccer, had a leadership role on campus and graduated summa cum laude. Labrie also talked about his plans to study theology at Harvard after graduation.

On the stand, he characterized his relationship with the then 15-year-old alleged victim as "friendly and flirty."  He said their encounter was consensual, and that they never had sex.

Labrie also said he tried to stop the encounter from progressing and that, when saying goodnight later, he was complimentary and kind.

"At that point, I told her what I thought of her," Labrie said in response to a question from his attorney. "I told her I thought she was a good girl, and that I thought she was going to do really well at school next year, and I think I called her an angel."

That account differed from that offered by the accuser, who testified last week that Labrie's goodbye was cold and brief. After less than an hour of Labrie’s testimony, the alleged victim ran from the courtroom crying.  

Labriedisplayed little emotion on the stand when being questioned by his attorney. But when prosecutor Joseph Cherniske took over the questioning, he was less composed. Cherniske began to grill Labrie, asking him about his intentions with the alleged victim, and using crude language that Labrie used in his messages with his friends. Cherniske also pushed Labrie about his messages with his friends after the incident, in which he bragged about having sex with the girl.

“Yes, it is a lie, I wanted to boast to my friends afterwards,” Labrie said. Labrie was the defense's only witness. 

Jury deliberations are expected to begin immediately after closing arguments.

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