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Former prep school student cleared of sexual assault charges

New Jersey residents may be interested in the outcome of a sexual assault case involving students from an elite New Hampshire prep school. A 19-year-old student from St. Paul's School in Concord was cleared of three felony charges for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. The man was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge for having sex with an underage person and a felony charge for seducing a minor through online communications.

The alleged sexual misconduct occurred days before St. Paul's graduation ceremony while the accused man was a senior. According to reports, the two teens were participating in a school tradition known as the 'senior salute" in which students that are about to graduate invite underclassmen to engage in sex. Although the accuser says that she agreed to meet with the accused man, she said that he pushed her further than she wanted to go sexually.

The defense attorney for the accused man argued that the encounter was consensual and did not involve intercourse. After the verdict was read, the defense attorney said that the charge for computer-related seduction was an overreach. The accused man could face a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison for the convictions, and he must now register as a sex offender.

Any type of conviction for sexual misconduct can damage a person's reputation and limit their job prospects and housing options for many years. A person who is being charged for a sex crime may want to enlist a criminal defense lawyer who will vigorously dispute the prosecution's case. A defense attorney may be able to weaken the prosecution's case by questioning the credibility of the accuser and presenting positive character witnesses for the defendant.

Source: Reuters, "Former New Hampshire prep school student not guilty of rape," Ted Siefer, Aug. 28, 2015

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