Pardon Highly Unlikely for Prep School Sex Convict

Owen Labrie will be sentenced this week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 26, 2015 12:11 AM CDT
Pardon Highly Unlikely for Prep School Sex Convict
In this Aug. 26, 2015, photo, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie testifies in his trial at Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, NH.   (Charles Krupa)

The recent graduate of an elite New Hampshire prep school who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old freshman is unlikely to avoid having to register as a sex offender for life given the history of pardons and commutations in the Granite State. Twenty-year-old Owen Labrie of Tunbridge, Vt., will be sentenced Thursday for crimes that include a felony conviction for using a computer to lure a minor for sex. It's that conviction that requires him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He faces a range of punishment, from probation to up to 11 years in prison. But lawyer JW Carney Jr. has said the sex convictions amount to a "brand, a tattoo" that Labrie will bear for life.

Though Labrie will be able to petition for removal from the registry 15 years after he completes his sentence, he faces long odds of gaining relief sooner through a pardon or commutation: New Hampshire has granted only three such requests over the past dozen years. The director of public policy for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says Carney and his client are "grasping at straws" if they think they can get a registry requirement voided through a pardon or by asking legislature to change the law. (His case exposed a practice known as "Senior Salute" in which some seniors compete to have sex with underclassmen at St. Paul's School, which has educated some of the nation's elite.)

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