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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Sunday granted an “absolute pardon” to the father who was arrested at a school board meeting after the superintendent lied about his daughter’s rape by a skirt-wearing boy.
The pardon says that in June 2021, Scott Smith “exercised his constitutional right to attend a public meeting of the Loudoun County School Board to observe the proceedings, during which time a community member threatened to spread false and malicious information about Mr. Smith’s business with the intent to damage his reputation.”
“After an ensuing verbal confrontation, Scott Thomas Smith was charged with Obstruction of Justice and Disorderly Conduct,” and Smith was quickly convicted, even though an appeals court later disqualified the prosecutor due to concerns about “the integrity of the prosecution,” the pardon continues.
“WHEREAS Scott Thomas Smith has been publicly and falsely accused of ‘domestic terrorism’ and ‘hate crimes’ for attempting to advocate for his daughter, a victim of sexual assault… I have decided it is just and appropriate to grant this ABSOLUTE PARDON that reflects Scott Thomas Smith’s factual innocence,” it concludes.
Smith’s story galvanized parents who were concerned that schools had sacrificed student safety and academic rigor for ideology. Youngkin’s pledge to be a voice for those parents helped usher him into office a month after The Daily Wire revealed Smith’s story.
Democrat prosecutor Buta Biberaj bucked her typical soft-on-crime stances and personally argued to put Smith in jail for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Smith was denied a jury because it was a misdemeanor in General District Court, and a judge quickly convicted him.
He appealed the ruling, and would have been entitled to a jury in appeals court. But the legal saga has dragged on for years, taking a financial and emotional toll on Smith, who says he’s grateful Youngkin allowed him to move on.
“I’m thankful that the Youngkin administration gave me an off-ramp to these charges that never should have happened,” Smith told The Daily Wire. “It’s kind of bittersweet, because I really looked forward to winning this in court. But unfortunately, our justice system is so screwed up right now that I didn’t feel that I could potentially get a fair shot in court.”
“That’s what should scare every American–is that I had to take this, because I could not trust our justice system,” Smith said.
As Smith’s legal saga dragged on, the same system that prosecuted Smith acquitted Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard for perjury charges. The day Smith’s daughter was raped, Byard wrote an email to parents that falsely blamed Smith for police presence and falsely said that no students were in danger, even as the rapist remained on the loose.
The rapist was eventually convicted in juvenile court, but due to a mistake by Biberaj, will not be placed on the sex offenders registry.
Smith said that on the night of the June 2021 school board meeting, where school board members were discussing passing a policy to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of their choice, his daughter had intended to say through a megaphone how just a few weeks before, she had been raped in a school bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt.
“That’s why Jackie attacked us, was to stop [my daughter] from speaking,” he said, referring to Jackie Schworm, a radical Leftist who had just spoken to Smith’s daughter, then sought out Smith and threatened to use social media to ruin his business. A police officer grabbed Smith from behind, and a struggle ensued.
An appeals court said that the prosecutor may have been biased, but that the fact that he cursed at Schworm was enough to retry him. Smith said that even if his appeal would have prevailed, “radical prosecutors” had already punished him by putting him through a years-long process.
“The damage has already been done,” Smith said. “This process has been absolutely brutal, because it took away some of my family treasure that [could have gone to] my daughter’s situation.”
The media plastered around the world a picture of Smith being dragged away by police, and used him as a symbol of how angry conservative parents were supposedly disrupting school board meetings out of bigotry and ignorance. The National School Boards Association likened him to a domestic terrorist in a letter that the Biden administration used to mobilize anti-terrorism forces against parents.
Only The Daily Wire bothered to ask Smith whether he had a good reason to be mad at the school board. It turned out that not only had his daughter been raped, and the superintendent lied about it, but that the school system kept the rapist in school, where he sexually assaulted a second girl.
“They villainized me and my family from the minute my daughter reported that she was sexually assaulted, pretty much until present time,” he said.
Biberaj wanted “to make an example out of me to scare people from speaking out. And quite frankly, it worked,” Smith said, noting that far fewer parents have turned out to school board meetings and spoken out since his arrest.
He said his next legal step will be to sue the prosecutor for misconduct, and possibly the National School Boards Association.
The pardon from Youngkin, who enjoys high favorability ratings in what was previously considered a blue state, continues a fulfillment of his campaign promise to focus on parental rights in education. On Tuesday, he will hold a “Parents Matter” conversation in Loudoun–at Cornerstone Chapel, a church that was placed on an enemies list by a group of liberal activists called the Loudoun Love Warriors.
The church’s pastor said it’s “ironic that those who espouse ‘tolerance’ the most, are actually some of the most intolerant people toward those of us with different views and values.”
A member of the Love Warriors was arrested on felony charges this month. Biberaj has not responded questions about whether she intends to drop charges, prosecute, or recuse herself.