Investigation

Loudoun Sheriff Closes Probe Into ‘Anti-Racist’ Group: ‘Asking Someone To Hack Is Not Illegal’

   DailyWire.com
Andrea Weiskopf, a Loudoun County teacher, tells the school board “Black Lives Matter.” (Public domain.)
Teacher Andrea Weiskopf participated in the Anti-Racist Parents facebook group. (Public Domain)

The Loudoun County, Virginia, sheriff’s office has closed its investigation into a Facebook group that threatened to “hack” and “expose” parents who opposed Critical Race Theory in schools, saying “asking someone to hack is not illegal and that we would need a furtherance of the act. At present we do not have information that anyone has been hacked.”

The report also says that school board member Beth Barts, whose comments triggered the hunt for dissident parents in the affluent, semi-rural Virginia suburb, told police she did not access the group during a key period when the list-making was going on — a statement that appears to be contradicted by timestamped data from Facebook contained in the report.

In a 41-page report obtained by The Daily Wire, deputies recounted how they executed subpoenas on Facebook and interviewed participants, including Barts, who had previously been censured and stripped of her committees in part for targeting parents on social media.

Related: Teachers Compile List Of Parents Who Question Racial Curriculum, Plot War On Them

Barts wrote on March 12 around 9:30 a.m. that “I am very concerned that this CRT ‘movement’ for lack of a better word is gaining support. It is difficult for me to bring attention to it without calling out specifics which may violate our code of conduct.”

Group members appeared to take this as a cue to do what she could not and assembled a list of parents. They made dozens of posts, eventually spinning off onto a thread dedicated solely to the list.

Member Jen Morse replied to Barts’ post asking the group’s administrator, Jamie Ann Neidig-Wheaton, “is it okay if I post a call for volunteers for these counter activities?” She then posted below Barts’ comment, “I put up a call for volunteers post.” That referred to a thread that called to “infiltrate,” deploy “hackers who can shut down their websites,” and “expose these people publicly.”

Barts later wrote: “Thank you for the response to my post this morning. It is ironic that they have now gone ‘underground’ after being called out for their hate and ignorance.”

Barts told detectives “She went on the site and asked for advocacy to share that LCPS is not supporting critical race theory… She said that she did not go back on the group until the next morning” and “did not see the doxing post until the next morning. Her post thanking people for their advocacy was about educating people and not thanking them from [sic] doxing people,” according to the sheriff’s documents.

But according to the Facebook records included in the sheriff’s report, Barts returned to Facebook multiple times on March 12. Around 3:30 p.m., she responded to a comment “We have a mole. Smoke them out” with the observation “… well isn’t that interesting…” By that time, Morse had posted to that thread that the group should make “lists” and “infiltrate” and directed readers to the standalone thread, which was in full swing.

Barts did not return a request for comment from The Daily Wire on the discrepancy.

Hacking

Hilary Hultman-Lee, a former Loudoun teacher, was the most prolific commenter, listing parents’ names, spouses, and employers.

Detectives asked Hultman-Lee about hacking. “She said that her understanding and that what she thinks many people understood to be saying was not hacking but doing ‘that thing where you buy a domain name that’s similar to the one you’re targeting so it looks like people are going to their address but they go to a different one to get education information.’ She did not know of anyone who reached out… who said they could do the hacking. She said the initial conversation centered around creating their own website and/or a re-direct type ‘spoof’ website,” according to the sheriff’s documents.

It was not clear why the group would need to find someone with special “hacking” skills to buy a domain name, since that is a simple online purchase, nor how that interpretation could be drawn from the call to “shut down their websites.”

No charges

The sheriff’s report summarized that a post solicited “information regarding legal names, areas of residence and or school board reps, known accounts on social media, and other information relating to those who opposed [sic] to [Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County]. This prompted other members of the ARPLC group to volunteer these names.” But this information did not constitute “personal Identifying Information (as defined in Virginia Code S18.2-186.4),” it said.

It considered charges of “using a person’s identity with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass,” “harassment by computer,” “slander and libel,” and “racketeering.” It concluded that any applicable violations would be “misdemeanor violations. Consequently, the LCSO will not be pursuing criminal charges. However, individuals interviewed during this investigation were notified… of their option to attempt to pursue misdemeanor criminal charges or other civil remedies.”

The county’s elected prosecutor, Buta Biberaj, is a member of the anti-racist Facebook group. Though Biberaj did not appear to comment on the doxing thread, she did participate in another thread that involved soliciting videos of children being racist, underneath a comment that said we have to “fight this s**t together.”

The Virginia Project, a conservative group, sued group administrator Neidig-Wheaton alleging defamation after she allegedly claimed that it was her side which had received threats, saying, “As a matter of fact, the Virginia Project, who has been a vocal force in this is spurring other people to threaten us. … We’ve been threatened with kidnapping; our children have been threatened. … They’ve gone after my business; they’ve gone after our jobs. … Again, we are being threatened. … The threats are real,” according to the Bacon’s Rebellion blog.

Neidig-Wheaton is a one-time George Mason University adjunct professor who, according to public records, was arrested on charges of trespassing and assault in 2012, which were later dropped.

Are schools for teachers or taxpayers?

The threshold for inclusion on the list was low. To earn their scorn, parents needed not be racist, but merely “not an antiracist.”

“Decades ago I had some unpleasant interactions with one of them I think,” one participant wrote.

But beneath the surface was a different dynamic, one that was not about race so much as those who seem to prioritize teachers over the parents they are hired to serve. Barts describes herself as a “former educator,” and the group included school system insiders like teachers, former teachers, and school board members.

“If I was still in that stupid LCPS Parents group, I’d remember more names,” Morse wrote.

The sheriff’s report said most of the parents targeted were actually opposed to teachers union-backed extended school closures, not racial issues.

“Based on the interviews conducted, a majority of the subjects named had opposing views on ‘Distance Learning’ from that of the members of ‘ARPLC’ and a minority of the subjects named had opposing views on ‘Critical Race Theory,’” detectives wrote.

Members criticized one parent seemingly in part for believing a child’s allegations of rape by a teacher. “Did he use his brand on the rape allegations against the Trailside teacher? He was funding the litigation,” one wrote, noting that “I have not really been following that closely so I’m not sure if they were corroborated allegations.”

Neidig-Wheaton said “I can’t believe such a catch is single,” calling him a “loud loser incel pissed his wife left him.”

‘Silence is complicity’

Though Barts used the catchphrase “Silence IS complicity,” only one member of the group appeared to speak out against the list-making, according to the contents of the sheriff’s report. “I have seen multiple members here say we don’t keep ‘list’ [sic] of people……how is this not exactly that?” a man wrote.  “Seriously? Infiltrate? I joined this group because I can’t stand trumpistas pretending racism doesn’t exist. But keeping lists and infiltrating is exactly the bulls***t they do.”

Hultman-Lee responded, “If you don’t care to participate in these factfinding and education activities, don’t.”

He said, “keeping private lists and infiltrating out of a private group is ‘education’? Ha… I am a supporter of CRT. I engage with that daily. I will not engage or support tactics that racists and NAZIs themselves use. We are better than them.”

Hultman-Lee wrote, “I will not repeat myself again… You’re welcome to start your own public group, if you disagree.”

Immediately after, the group went back to excoriating their neighbors.

“The parents are the cowards because they know we can’t smack their kids. But not a single one will confront me face to face and try that shit,” Antoine Wilson wrote of allegedly racist children.

“The person taking screenshots and running off like a little pathetic Karen should get a life,” Heather Elise Barclay said.

The group alternated between attacking those who objected to Critical Race Theory and claiming that it was not in schools.

Some members of the group expressed hatred for their neighbors despite apparently not having any familiarity with the substance of their criticism. “These lunatics scare me. I haven’t paid much attention, until now. What is the actual program that Loudoun is using? I can’t believe these people are my neighbors,” Kimberly Gould Crawley wrote.

Related: Loudoun Says Teachers Who Attack Parents Protected By Free Speech, Mulls Banning Trump Flags

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