Bail Revoked for St. Paul's Grad; Labrie to Serve One Year Beginning Immediately
Updated 5:15 PM:
Owen Labrie, the St. Paul’s School graduate convicted last summer of sexually assaulting a minor, was taken away in handcuffs Friday afternoon for breaking his bail.
Labrie, 20, will have to serve out his one-year sentence at Merrimack County Jail while he appeals to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which could take months.
Labrie looked shocked and his family wept in the courtroom as Merrimack County Judge Larry Smukler ordered that Labrie serve out his jail time starting that very day.
Prosecutors argued Labrie, who was ordered to remain at his mother’s home in Tunbridge, Vt. from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night – missed curfew at least eight times. In court Friday, the prosecution pointed to several instances where Labrie left for Boston by bus early in the morning and returned home hours past his curfew.
Labrie’s lawyer did not dispute this but said it was for good reasons, such as meeting with his lawyers and attending lectures for online courses in Boston.
But Smukler told Labrie he had no right to make that call.
“What is troubling is that you took it upon yourself to construe the spirit of the bail and not the letter and you made that decision yourself,” Smukler said in court.
Deputy Merrimack County Attorney Catherine Ruffle argued that if Labrie wanted to travel outside his restricted hours, he should have asked the court.
“We wouldn’t be here if the defendant filed a motion with the court to amend his bail as he is required to do. There is absolutely no justification or excuse for them stepping outside of the law and taking the rules into their own hands,” Ruffle told the judge.
Labrie's attorney Jaye Rancourt told reporters after the hearing that she is deeply disappointed with the ruling.
"Never in 17 years have I seen someone violated on bail for going to college for trying to better their life, not committing new crimes, not going out at night to the bars, drinking, hanging out with bad people, violating conditions of no contact but getting up early to better his life and I think that's a shame," Rancourt said.
When pressed on why Rancourt didn't file a motion with the court to change his curfew, Rancourt said if Labrie's whereabouts were published in court files it would be a matter of safety - citing instances where Labrie was spotted in public and physically and verbally attacked because of the trial.
"He chose wrongly, your honor, admittedly, to try to fly under the radar and on three occasions go to Boston early in the morning to try to pursue some academic endeavors on the quiet, without people finding out and without it being ruined and he's sorry," Rancourt said in her last pleas to the judge.
But Merrimack County Attorney Scott Murray said making sure Labrie, a convicted sex offender, follows his bail conditions is a matter of public safety.
“The message is that bail orders need to be complied with and when the court issues a bail order – non-compliance is subject to penalties,” Murray said outside the courthouse.
Labrie’s attorney would not say whether Labrie would appeal his revoked bail.
Updated 3:12 PM:
A judge has revoked bail for Owen Labrie, the 20-year-old St. Paul's graduate, who was convicted last summer in a high profile sexual assault case.
Labrie was taken in handcuffs from a courtroom in Merrimack County Superior Court Friday afternoon to begin serving his one year-sentence.
We will continue to follow this developing story.
A Concord judge will decide Friday afternoon whether to revoke the bail of a St. Paul’s prep school graduate who was convicted last summer of having sex with a minor.
Prosecutors on the case argue 20-year-old Owen Labrie has broken his curfew not once but at least eight times since he was released.
Labrie has been court-ordered to remain at his mother’s home in Tunbridge, Vt. between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. while he appeals his conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
But tweets from a reporter who bumped into Labrie on the subway in Cambridge, Massachusetts last month led prosecutors to believe Labrie hasn’t been following his curfew. That reporter later wrote in an online article that Labrie was visiting his girlfriend at Harvard and has done so several times.
Labrie's lawyers don't dispute that Labrie missed his curfew but argue it was only to meet with legal counsel for his criminal and potential civil cases, and also to attend classes in Boston as part of his online coursework.
The defense is asking the court to allow Labrie to travel outside the restricted hours for such purposes moving forward.
Labrie was sentenced to one-year in jail as well mandated to register as a sex offender.