Loudoun County Public School officials put their own interests above that of their students in their handling of two sexual assaults committed by the same transgender student, according to a 24-page grand jury report released on Monday.
"LCPS administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS. This invariably led to a stunning lack of openness, transparency, and accountability both to the public and the special grand jury," reads the report, after the grand jury uncovered evidence that the district was aware of multiple sexual assaults that occurred on two high school campuses in 2021 - yet failed to inform community members about them over 'privacy concerns.'
On May 28, 2021 a transgender teenage boy raped another student in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn. The rapist, 15, was convicted on one count of forcible sodomy and one count of forcible fellatio, both felonies, local media reported. The boy was found guilty of sexual assault in October, 2021 by a Virginia judge.
After the incident, Scott Smith, the father of the 15-year-old victim, says he was told by school officials that there had been a 'physical altercation.' After he arrived on scene, he learned that she had actually been raped. According to Smith the school staff said they wanted to handle the situation 'internally,' and chose not to call the police.
Smith became furious and challenged their decision, after which officials called Loudon County Sheriff's deputies.
"I went nuts. I called the principal a pussy. Six cop cars showed up like a fucking SWAT team," said Smith, adding that he had "exploded with rage."
Smith and the family's attorney say a rape kit and other tests prove a sexual assault occurred. After presenting the evidence to the police, a case was opened.
"Thank God that I drew enough attention to it, without getting arrested, that we got an escort to the hospital and they administered a rape kit that night," he said.
Two months after the incident, the boy was arrested for forced sodomy along with other counts, according to the family's attorney.
Three weeks after the alleged rape, Smith attended a school board meeting on June 22, where a discussion on a proposal to protect transgender students was on the agenda. After he was dragged out of the meeting, he was ridiculed on social media, and painted as a right-wing anti-trans bigot by the left.
The school covered up a crime. The justice system behaved in a flagrantly political manner. And the media was happy to participate in the politically-useful smearing, as usual. Morally appalling failures from top to bottom.— Inez Stepman ⚪️🔴⚪️ (@InezFeltscher) October 13, 2021
"My wife and I are gay- and lesbian-friendly," Smith told the Daily Wire. "We’re not into this children transgender stuff. The person that attacked our daughter is apparently bisexual and occasionally wears dresses because he likes them. So this kid is technically not what the school board was fighting about. The point is kids are using it as an advantage to get into the bathrooms."
During the June 22, 2021 meeting, school board member Beth Barts claimed not to know of any assaults happening in bathrooms or locker rooms during the trans student discussion. Superintendent Scott Ziegler echoed that sentiment, saying "To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms," adding "the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist."
He went on to quote Time magazine research that he said disproved the notion transgender kids might sexually attack cisgender kids, and said: 'I think it’s important to keep our perspective on this, we’ve heard it several times tonight from our public speakers but the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.'
Smith said he became irate. He started arguing with another woman at the meeting, labeling her a 'b***h' after she allegedly denied his daughter's claim.
He was then charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. -Daily Mail
Smith told the Wire that he was attacked by an activist who insisted his daughter was not assaulted, during which an officer came over.
"The next thing I know, I’m getting touched from all over the place. I didn’t know who was touching me, who was grabbing me. I turn around, the police are grabbing me and next thing I know, I’m tackled to the ground. I’m just shocked and horrified," Smith told Fox News.
Dropped The Ball
According to the Grand Jury, "LCPS dropped the ball in this instance in alerting the community about this incident," reads the report.
The jury noted there were several instances where senior division administrators, including the superintendent, could have been transparent and could have avoided the sexual assault at Broad Run High School.
The jury stated in the documents they believed the Oct. 6 abduction and sexual assault “could have and should have been prevented,” saying administrators were ultimately to blame for the second assault. -LoudounNow
"Had any one of a number of individuals across a variety of entities spoken up or realized a serious problem was brewing regarding earlier incidents at BRHS then the sexual assault most likely would not have occurred. But nobody did," they wrote, adding "Not a single person with knowledge of the student’s history or of this current action stepped in to do anything. Instead, discipline was left to the BRHS principal, who did nothing more than issue him a verbal reprimand."
2: The grand jury found that LCPS administration was looking out for its own interests, not the best interests of @LCPSOfficial. This led to a "stunning" lack of transparency and accountability by the admin which "failed at every juncture" with respect to the sexual assaults. pic.twitter.com/tSeFznOEU2— Ian Prior (@iandprior) December 5, 2022
The grand jury made eight recommendations based on its investigation, according to LoudonNow:
- Increase transparency and foster better communication and recommended the school division include as much information as reasonably possible when informing the public about significant events happening on school property, a bus or a school sponsored event.
- Re-examine its transfer process and create a formalized protocol emphasizing better communication.
- Greater involvement from the division’s director of safety and security in situations that threaten the safety and security of students, faculty and staff.
- The School Board should tighten polices about the apps available to students on their school-issued devices.
- The School Board should limit the degree to which legitimate matters and information of public concern are shielded from the public under the cloak of attorney-client privilege.
- Improved communication, cooperation and coordination across all agencies when addressing criminal conduct by students, faculty and staff.
- Strengthen support and advocacy for faculty and staff who are faced with challenging scenarios that could be dangerous.
- The superintendent’s recommendation for the non-renewal of a teacher’s contract should be the subject of a separate agenda item and not placed on the School Board’s consent agenda.