“It’s been two years now since the whole ordeal. I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me and I’m going to make sure other people—other boys and girls—know they don’t have to be ashamed either,” Chessy Prout told Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday morning’s Today. Prout was 15 years old when she was sexually assaulted by Owen Labrie at the St. Paul’s School. Labrie was later convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault as well as felony computer-related crimes.
Labrie was accused of raping Prout during a “Senior Salute,” what some students identified as a tradition in which senior boys try to have sex with younger girls. Prout told Today that after the assault:
We had been prepared to just receive an apology letter. We had been prepared to finish this and just move forward with our lives and let them move forward with their lives, but, you know what, in the pursuit of justice I would’ve done anything.
Prout testified for three days at the trial. She recalled Labrie’s defense attorney picking apart her recount of events: “[I remember him asking], ‘Why were you so hazy during this period?’ I looked at the defense attorney in disbelief and said ‘I was raped!’”
Prout also said that she was “frustrated” by the verdict. Labrie, she said, was able to convince the jury that he didn’t knowingly rape her, thus being convicted of the lesser misdemeanor assault charges. “He definitely did it knowingly,” Prout said. When Guthrie asked her about Labrie, Prout said, “I hope he learns and I hope he gets help. If he doesn’t learn, he will do it to another woman.”
Earlier this year, Prout’s family filed a lawsuit against St. Paul’s School. The lawsuit contends that the New Hampshire prep school facilitated a “warped culture of sexual misconduct” that led to Prout’s sexual assault. The school vocally denies the accusation.
Labrie meanwhile is appealing his conviction. After curfew violations landed him in jail in March, he was released in May.