News and Analysis

Loudoun County Update: Sheriff Confirms Daily Wire Reporting, LCPS Responds

   DailyWire.com
Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Loudoun County Sheriff confirmed elements of The Daily Wire’s blockbuster report, alleging that Loudoun County Public Schools covered up a sexual assault that happened in the bathroom of a local high school, acknowledging that the department investigated a sexual assault that took place on the day in question

Loudoun County Public Schools has also released a statement in reference to the report, noting that it “has cooperated and is continuing to cooperate” with law enforcement in reference to the alleged sexual assault.

The Loudon County Sheriffs confirmed to Fox News and the Daily Mail that they did investigate an incident from May 28th and that the case is still pending, leaving them unable to discuss details. According to the Daily Wire’s report, and the victim’s attorney, the suspect in the first case is alleged to have committed a second sexual assault, in early October.

“We can confirm a May 28, 2021 case that involved a thorough 2-month-long investigation that was conducted to determine the facts of the case prior to arrest,” the sheriff’s office told Fox News. “This case is still pending court proceedings. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is not able to provide any documents that pertain to a pending case.”

“The sheriff’s office confirmed that the case involved sexual assault,” the outlet added.

The Daily Mail also noted that the sheriff’s office believes the same individual committed both alleged assaults.

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) remained mum on the matter through Tuesday, though the Superintendent, Scott Ziegler, told Fox News, that there was an incident but that the matter is confidential.

“These incidents were reported immediately to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and LCPS cooperated fully with the investigations,” the spokesperson said. “Any information related to student information is confidential under state and federal laws regarding student privacy.”

In a full statement on Wednesday, LCPS acknowledged the incident but again maintained that the matter was reported to authorities and that the school was prohibited from any further investigation until the criminal probe had concluded. LCPS also appeared to defend transferring the alleged attacker to a different school in the district, noting that it had to follow Title IX procedures for a student accused of sexual assault.

In response to a contentious school board meeting Tuesday night, where parents and other interested parties demanded school board members resign their positions over the alleged coverup, LCPS claimed that school board members were “not given details of disciplinary matters.”

 

The statement reads:

Loudoun County Public Schools is aware of the media and social media reports concerning alleged sexual assaults at two of our high school campuses. While LCPS takes privacy seriously and cannot reveal details concerning the actions of any specific student, we do want to clarify our investigative process.

Principals are legally required to report to the local law enforcement agency any act, including sexual assault, that may constitute a felony offense under Va. Code § 22.1-279.3:1 That process was followed with respect to these allegations. Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was contacted within minutes of receiving the initial report on May 28. Once a matter has been reported to law enforcement, LCPS does not begin its investigation until law enforcement advises LCPS that it has completed the criminal investigation. To maintain the integrity of the criminal investigation, law enforcement requested that LCPS not interview students until their investigation is concluded. LCPS has cooperated and continues to cooperate with law enforcement. 

Furthermore, LCPS is prohibited from disciplining any student without following the Title IX grievance process, which includes investigating complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. LCPS does impose interim measures to protect the safety of students involved in the original incident, deter retaliation, and preserve the integrity of the investigation and resolution process. LCPS has complied and continues to comply with its obligations under Title IX.

School Board members are typically not given details of disciplinary matters. The board may be obligated to consider long-term suspensions or expulsions and must ensure that students have not been deprived of due process. Consequently, members of the Loudoun County School Board were not aware of the specific details of this incident until it was reported in media outlets earlier this week. We are unable to locate any records that indicate that Scott Smith had registered in advance to speak at the June 22, 2021 board meeting.

Related: Father Of Alleged Rape Victim From Loudoun Slams DOJ: ‘Weaponizing’ Itself Against Parents

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