Justice Served in Loudoun County Sexual Assault Case

  • by:
  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

Justice has been served in the case of a 15-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted in a Loudoun County high school bathroom at the end of May. The 14-year-old boy was found guilty on all charges. The family is pursuing a lawsuit against Loudoun County Schools.

Bill Stanley, the Smith family's attorney, released the following statement via Elicia Brand and her #ArmyForParents on Monday.

The boy, wearing a skirt, was able to access the girl's bathroom where he assaulted the girl at Stone Bridge High School because of Policy 8040. As UncoverDC previously reported, "Policy 8040 would give LCPS leeway to incorporate expanded pronouns for students—expanded access to facilities and sports—according to gender identity and added training for staff and faculties related to gender identity issues."

The boy's attorney tried to argue that Smith's daughter and the boy were having consensual sex. However, according to witnesses in court, Smith's daughter was very clear that the sex was not consensual.

The juvenile was released this summer with an ankle bracelet and then subsequently proceeded to assault another young high school girl at Broad Run High School on Oct. 7. Neither the public nor the family was informed of his release.

The Commonwealth's attorney, Buta Biberaj, was responsible for releasing the boy to the community. She defended the decision, saying he "had no history of having [assaulted anyone]" and asked for patience from the public while the investigation continued. Biberaj has allegedly received death threats because of how she handled the boy's release to the community.

Elizabeth Lancaster, the attorney for the second victim, issued a statement regarding Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Brooks' handling of the Smith case and its potential impact on the newer charges against the juvenile:

Background On LCPS Board Meeting Activity

At the June 22 Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board meeting, the father, Scott Smith, was captured on video that was then edited to imply he was the instigator of the altercation. The school board was meeting to discuss and finalize Policy 8040, and Smith was purely an attendee with no public comment number or intention to speak. However, during the meeting, a trans-allied individual—who apparently knew something about the rape, approached him and his wife, Jessica. The woman allegedly cornered his wife while loudly shouting at her, according to witnesses.

Witnesses say she (the trans-ally) thought Smith was there to speak in protest on the soon to be formally adopted policy. When Smith tried to explain he was there only to hear the decision, the woman continued to verbally assault him. Those watching say he tried to contain his anger, but he ultimately shouted expletives at the woman and at that point was tackled by the police. Policy 8040 passed 7-2. Scott was charged with disorderly conduct but was later released.

Superintendent, Scott Ziegler, denied having knowledge of the sexual assault during a closed discussion among board members after the June 22 public comment. He also doubled down in the meeting, quoting a 2016 Time Magazine article stating:

"Transgender students were more likely to assault CIS gender students in restrooms than were other students is a red herring. In fact, Ziegler continued, Regardless of the gender or gender identity of a student, if a crime or violation of the rules is committed, that would be investigated and dealt with to the full extent of the rules or the law. So that was Time Magazine calling that a red herring—just that it's not happening."

Ziegler then cited a May 2019 Journal of Pediatrics study that allegedly found no evidence of transgender predatory behavior:

"In May 2019, the Journal Pediatrics did a study [that] concluded that transgender students who are not in an environment that is inclusive and are forced to use the gender ascribed to their birth certificate were more likely to be assaulted than their cisgender peers. So I think it's important to keep some perspective on this. We've heard it several times tonight from our public speakers, but the predatory transgender student or person simply does not exist. And I think it's part of maybe a misunderstanding of which what it means to be transgender. But the data is just simply not there."

In mid-October, both Ziegler and the school board issued statements that essentially blamed Title lX for the lack of transparent reporting. Records indicate Loudoun County schools allegedly show the district was not complying with Virginia law that requires sexual assaults to be reported. According to the Daily Wire, "LCPS reported to the state that Stone Bridge had zero sexual assaults for the 2020-2021 school year, which includes May 28, 2021."

Also from Daily Wire is the following information concerning an email, confirmed by father Scott Smith, on the day of the rape:

"[A]n email from Stone Bridge Principal Tim Flynn, which was sent to the entire community at 4:48 pm the day of the alleged rape, told students and parents that 'There was an incident in the main office area today that required the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to dispatch deputies to Stone Bridge. The incident was confined to the main office and the entrance area to the school. There was no threat to the safety of the student body. Students might have noticed Sheriff's Office personnel on campus, and I wanted to let you know that something out of the ordinary happened at school today.' There was no mention of the alleged attack."

Ziegler is not fully transparent when he says he had no knowledge of the May 28 rape—ABC7news uploaded an email that proves he was notified of the incident. The LCPS Board issued the following Oct. 22 statement and accompanying email referring to the May 28 assault. They seem to minimize their lack of transparency because the email did not have "specific details or the names of those involved."

Ziegler Knew/LCPS

Parents in the community showed up at an Oct. 13 school board meeting to demand Ziegler's resignation.  Excerpts from Virginia law states the following:

22.1-279.3:1. Reports of certain acts to school authorities.

A. Reports shall be made to the division superintendent and to the principal or his designee on all incidents involving (i) the assault or assault and battery, without bodily injury, of any person on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity; (ii) the assault and battery that results in bodily injury, sexual assault, death, shooting, stabbing, cutting, or wounding of any person, or stalking of any person as described in 18.2-60.3, on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity;...

In submitting reports of such incidents, principals and division superintendents shall accurately indicate any offenses, arrests, or charges as recorded by law-enforcement authorities and required to be reported by such authorities pursuant to subsection B.

A division superintendent who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the sanctions authorized in 22.1-65. A principal who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this section shall be subject to sanctions prescribed by the local school board, which may include, but need not be limited to, demotion or dismissal.

A parent whose child attends a Loudoun County school alerted UncoverDC about planned student walkouts to support sexual assault victims and protest for safer schools. Elicia Brand, also a parent of children in the district, posted the following yesterday on Twitter:

Loudoun County's struggles have consistently made headlines locally and nationwide and could figure significantly in the upcoming gubernatorial election on Nov. 2.

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