Elite boarding school St. Paul’s School is the focus of a sexual assault trial concerning a former male student who’s accused of raping a female freshman when he was a senior in spring 2014.
Former St. Paul’s student Owen Labrie, now 19 years old, faces multiple charges of sexual assault for the alleged rape of a 15-year-old female student.
The freshman was prominently featured in capital letters on a list of girls for his “senior salute” — “a school ritual in which older students proposition younger ones for as much intimacy as they can get away with: a kiss, touching, or more,” according to The New York Times.
One of reason this case has attracted so much attention is due to St. Paul’s status as a top boarding school. As the Associated Press notes, St. Paul’s is a member of the Eight Schools Association, an elite group of eight boarding schools that has garnered comparisons to the Ivy League. The AP referred to St. Paul’s as part of a “prep school Ivy League of sorts.”
St. Paul’s “boasts as alumni an international roster of senators, congressmen, ambassadors, Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates and two World Series of Poker winners,” the AP reports. Among the most accomplished St. Paul’s graduates are Secretary of State John Kerry and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
The “senior salute” is reportedly a longstanding tradition at the school.
The school posted the following statement on its website Monday:
As the Labrie trial begins, you may read or hear allegations surrounding those involved in the situation, as well as about the School. These are, indeed, allegations and not proven facts, and the judicial system will weigh them and determine how this case is ultimately resolved. We will move past this as a School community, stronger, united, and committed, as always, to ensuring our students’ safety and wellbeing. Allegations about our culture are not emblematic of our school or our values, our rules, or the people that represent our student body, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Here are all of the boarding schools that make up the elite Eight Schools Association:
- Choate Rosemary Hall
- Deerfield Academy
- The Hotchkiss School
- The Lawrenceville School
- Northfield Mount Hermon School
- Phillips Academy Andover
- Phillips Exeter Academy
- St. Paul’s School
The Eight Schools Association isn’t the only prep school group to draw Ivy League comparisons. A New York City-area private school athletic conference is known as the Ivy Preparatory School League. Those eight elite schools are listed below:
- Collegiate School
- Dalton School
- Fieldston School
- Hackley School
- Horace Mann School
- Poly Prep Country Day School
- Riverdale Country School
- Trinity School
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