Defendant denied New Hampshire prep school rape, wept: detective

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Former Classmates at Prep School Rape Trial Describe Senior Salute

(Reuters) -- A popular former student at an elite New Hampshire boarding school wept when a detective called him to say she wanted to interview him about allegations he raped a younger teenager and denied the charges, the detective testified on Tuesday.

Owen Labrie, now 19, initially reacted to inquiries about the alleged May 2014 attack by emphasizing his accomplishments at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, said Concord Police Detective Julie Curtin during the fifth day of his trial.

SEE MORE: Alleged victim in US prep school rape trial 'traumatized'

Labrie denied having had sex with the alleged victim, who was 15 at the time, Curtin said.

The trial has cast a harsh light on the culture of the prep school, whose alumni include powerful U.S. business and political figures including Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Defendant denied New Hampshire prep school rape, wept: detective
Former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie raises his hand as he is sworn-in prior to testifying in his trial at Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious school in Concord. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)
While the jury still deliberates, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie, left, leaves the Merrimack Superior Court at the end of day with security in tow Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, Pool)
Owen Labrie looks around the courtroom during his trial, in Merrimack County Superior Court, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. During opening statements, prosecutors said Labrie raped a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Recent St. Paul's School graduate Owen Labrie, right, stands with one of his lawyers, J.W. Carney, as jurors view the school grounds, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
The entrance to the elite St. Paul’s School is seen Friday Aug. 14, 2015 in Concord, N.H., Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, Owen Labrie, a former student, goes on trial Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, for taking part in a practice at the school known as “Senior Salute” where graduating boys try to take the virginity of younger girls before the school year ends. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Owen Labrie, right, talks with his lawyer during his trial, in Merrimack County Superior Court, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. During opening statements, prosecutors said Labrie raped a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Prosecutor Catherine Ruffle delivers her opening arguments against Owen Labrie to the jury in the Merrimack County Superior Court, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Owen Labrie's defense attorney J.W. Carney, left, gives his opening arguments as prosecutor Catherine Ruffle, lower right and Judge Larry Smukler listen Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Recent St. Paul's School graduate Owen Labrie, second from left, stands between his lawyers J.W. Carney, left, and Sam Zaganjori, as prosecutor Catherine Ruffle walks by as the jury visits the school, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Former St. Paul's student Owen Labrie confers with his lawyer before the start of the second day of his trial at Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. Labrie is accused of raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (Geoff Forester/The Concord Monitor via AP, Pool)
Former St. Paul's student Owen Labrie waits for the second day of his trial to begin at Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. Labrie is accused of raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (Geoff Forester/The Concord Monitor via AP, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Tucker Marchese testifies Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, in the trial of Owen Labrie at the Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Malcom Salovaara testifies Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, during the trial of Owen Labrie at the Merrimack County Superior Court Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman in 2014 as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Andrew Thomas testifies Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, during the trial of Owen Labrie at the Merrimack County Superior Court Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman in 2014 as part of the "Senior Salute," a practice of sexual conquest at the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Defendant Owen Labrie, left, and his attorney Jay Carney are seen in court at his trial at the Merrimack County Courthouse Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Concord, N.H., after Carney's cross examination of the former student who accused Labrie of raping her in May of 2014. Labrie is charged with raping the then-15-year-old girl at St. Paul's School in Concord two days before he graduated in 2014. (Geoff Forester/Concord Monitor via AP, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie stands next to a map of his school's campus in his trial at Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious school in Concord. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie testifies in his trial at Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious school in Concord. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie holds his arms over his head as he describes how he disrobed a female classmate while testifying in his trial at Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious school in Concord. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)
Former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie arrives for his trial at Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious school in Concord. The defense contends the two had consensual sexual contact but not intercourse. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)
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Students have testified that it was common for graduating seniors to extend invitations to younger students to get together for so-called "senior salutes," often for sexual purposes.

St. Paul's has said that the alleged tradition does not reflect its values.

Curtin said she asked Labrie what a "senior salute" was.

"He said some students want to take the virginity of younger students, but he said that's not what he was doing" with the teen, she said.

The alleged victim last week testified that when she accepted Labrie's invitation, she thought they would kiss but no more, and had not been prepared for his aggressive approach.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney said the two had a consensual encounter that did not include intercourse. Several of Labrie's friends testified on Monday that he had told them he had sex with the girl.

Carney attempted to cast doubt on Curtin's interrogation tactics.

"Over and over and over, you kept asking different ways he may have penetrated her," Carney asked the detective. "Didn't he say at one point, 'I told you ten times?'"

Curtin affirmed that Labrie had said that.

Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, is expected to testify in his own defense before the trial's conclusion, which could come as early as this week.

He has pleaded not guilty to three felony sexual assault charges, which each carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

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