News and Analysis

Washington Post Reporter Frames Loudoun County Sexual Assault In Way Paper Would Not Frame Other Accusations
Protesters and activists hold signs as they stand outside a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021.

On Monday, a Virginia juvenile court essentially found a 15-year-old guilty (the word “guilty” is not used in juvenile court) of sexually assaulting a fellow classmate in a girls’ bathroom at a high school in Loudoun County, Virginia.

The Daily Wire broke the story earlier this month, prompting the Post to say the case has “generated a political firestorm.” But it was how Post reporter Justin Jouvenal framed the story on Twitter that has caused a backlash.

“A teen testified she met a classmate for consensual sex in the girls’ bathroom of a Loudoun County high school before, but in a May encounter, she was sexually assaulted. New details in the case at the center of a firestorm,” Jouvenal wrote on Twitter.

The wording of the tweet didn’t make it clear that the female victim had sex with the same student in the bathroom prior to her accusation of sexual assault. Jouvenal’s article on the case makes this clear:

During the hearing, the 15-year-old victim in the first case testified she had consensual sexual encounters with the defendant on two occasions in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn. On May 28, she said, the two arranged to meet again and the youth threw her to the floor and forced her to perform sex acts.

What made the final encounter different, according to the female victim’s testimony, is that the male student forced her to perform a sex act she had repeatedly refused to participate in. As the Post reported, the victim and the perpetrator had “sexually charged” conversations on a social media app prior to the assault, during which the young woman repeatedly refused to participate in a particular sex act desired by her attacker. One day before the assault, the victim was hospitalized “because of a health condition that made her weak, and the defendant ‘utilized her physical helplessness’ to take advantage of her,” the Post reported.

“He flipped me over,” the girl testified, per the Post. “I was on the ground and couldn’t move and he sexually assaulted me.”

Jouvenal’s tweet about the article generated a backlash online, with conservative comedian Tim Young wrote: “Oh look… the Washington Post victim blames teens who were raped now.” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, wrote: “So what you’re saying is ‘she asked for it’?”

It is also unlikely a Post reporter would have framed the article in this way had it not “caused a political firestorm.” The male student involved in the assault is reportedly “gender fluid,” and the victim’s father, Scott Smith, was later arrested at a Loudoun County school board meeting after “a woman wearing a rainbow heart shirt – a left-wing community activist – told Smith she did not believe his daughter,” The Daily Wire reported.

“As a result of the viral video showing his arrest, Smith became the poster child for what the National School Boards Association has since suggested could be a form of ‘domestic terrorism’: a white blue-collar male who showed up to harangue obscure public servants on his local school board,” The Daily Wire added.

As The Daily Wire reported on Monday, a Virginia court ruled there was sufficient evidence to find that the male teenager had sexually assaulted Smith’s daughter. The same male student faces another allegation of assault from a different teenager at a different school — where he transferred after the first allegation.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Washington Post Reporter Frames Loudoun County Sexual Assault In Way Paper Would Not Frame Other Accusations