It seems senior traditions for students of New Hampshire's prestigious St. Paul's School have taken a turn from playful pranks to a more disturbing trend. Rather than tossing rolls of toilet paper across the school's facade or spray painting a park bench, graduates appear to be pressuring each other to take on tasks that are harmful to themselves and to their peers.
One 18-year-old 2014 graduate of the school is currently facing charges of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in what school authorities call a "senior salute." According to a police affidavit, the young man is alleged to have assaulted the girl two days before graduation. While he has denied having sex with the 15-year-old, a nurse reported finding evidence of an assault. Definitive results are pending from a state lab, but the new graduate has been charged with a single count of luring the girl through computer contact and three felony sexual assault counts.
A counselor with the school told police the senior salute involves a senior emailing a younger student requesting a "conquest" before graduation. Reportedly, the 15-year-old accepted the salute because she thought it would just entail making out or kissing. Reports say the graduate started having sex with her at which point she pulled away and said no two times.
Peer pressure can be a powerful motivator to young people who want to fit in with the crowd, but finding the truth in cases like these is more important than ever. While the defendant, who once had a promising future laid out before him, denies the charges, his reputation and even his freedom are now at great risk. With a strong criminal defense team committed to uncovering the truth, the boy can still emerge from these sexual assault allegations and go on to be a productive member of society.
Source: SFGate.com, "Grad charged with felony sex assault on freshman" Jul. 26, 2014