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A grand jury is eyeing Loudoun County, Virginia, officials for their alleged role in the coverup of a rape committed in a school restroom that was first revealed by The Daily Wire.
The 2021 incident drew national outrage and galvanized local parents angry that the boy, who wore a skirt as he raped a ninth-grade classmate in the girls’ bathroom, had been quietly transferred to another school where he sexually assaulted another student. Shortly after the first sexual assault, the superintendent publicly said no assaults had occurred in school restrooms. In a news release, Loudoun County Public Schools acknowledged the latest development and pledged to cooperate.
“LCPS intends to cooperate with the lawful requests of the special grand jury, while protecting the privacy rights of our students to the extent permitted by law and in accordance with all applicable legal privileges,” LCPS said.
The existence of the grand jury was first reported by Loudoun Now reporter Hayley Milon Bour, and came after an order from Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA).
Special grand juries are sometimes used to investigate systemic corruption among public officials. According to the Virginia judiciary, they can be used to “investigate and report upon any condition which tends to promote criminal activity in the community or by any governmental authority, agencies, or the officials thereof.”
In its statement, LCPS said it has taken “several steps to help protect our students from such incidents happening in the future. LCPS has expanded the size and scope of our Title IX office by hiring a full-time Title IX Coordinator and additional investigative staff, [and] expanded our Office of Division Counsel to better assist staff with issues relating to legal compliance.”
Youngkin, elected in November, 2021, after campaigning as an advocate for parents, signed on his first day in office an order authorizing the attorney general “to initiate and coordinate investigative and prosecutorial efforts” in order “to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth and hold accountable any individuals who have violated existing law or violated the rights of victims of crime” in connection with the rape handling.
Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler told the public and the school board, which was attempting to pass a progressive transgender bathroom policy at the time of the incident, that there had never been any assaults in LCPS bathrooms. Had parents known about the incident, the policy could have been more difficult to pass.
LCPS also falsely told the state in required data disclosures that there were no sexual assaults at the school that year.
After The Daily Wire exposed the rape, Ziegler blamed the federal government, falsely claiming that Title IX prevented him from taking action against the accused rapist until after he was convicted. He also claimed his false statement to the school board was because he misunderstood the question, even though follow-up questions made clear that he did understand it.
Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, told The Daily Wire on Wednesday that he’s thankful and hopeful that people will be held responsible.
“I hope this grand jury goes deeper than just the school board and also looks at the prosecuting attorney’s office, the sheriff’s department, the board of supervisors. I hope it gets [prosecutor Buta Biberaj] too, because without that it’s hard to save Loudoun,” he said.
“Is lying a jailable offense? Does Ziegler deserve to go to jail? I don’t know. He deserves to not have a job. But the fact that they’re dragging the community through this coverup for a year, maybe that is criminal. I think what they’re going to find is that Loudoun is a very rich, powerful, controlled cartel by both sides, and the corruption is huge,” he added.
Youngkin has also proposed an amendment to a state law that — if ratified by the legislature — would put all Loudoun school board members on the ballot this year instead of in November 2023. The current board was elected to unstaggered four-year terms in 2019, an off-year. The new bill would stagger the terms, with some school board members serving only two-year terms
LCPS says Youngkin’s plan “seeks to undo a fair and free election” against the wishes of the electorate and would result in an “unnecessary election on short notice.”
Luke Rosiak is the author of the book Race To the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education.
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