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Va. AG facing pressure to investigate Loudoun County School Board over handling of sexual assaults

Loudoun County, School Board, Viginia
A woman sits with her sign during a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, on October 12, 2021. - Loudoun county school board meetings have become tense recently with parents clashing with board members over transgender acticism in the school system, the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) and ongoing COVID-19 mandates. Recently tensions between groups of parents and the school board increased after a trans-identified boy sexually assaulted two girls. Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI to investigate parents or anyone else deemed to have made a threat against a school board member or teacher. This is in response to a request from the National School Boards Association asking U.S. President Joe Biden for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats made over policies including mask mandates, likening the vitriol to a form of domestic terrorism. |

Five former attorneys general of Virginia are calling on the state’s current attorney general to investigate the Loudoun County School Board over its handling of the sexual assaults of two female students in the district’s high schools at the hands of a trans-identified male. 

In a letter sent to Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, five of the most recent attorneys general of Virginia, all Republicans, sent a letter to Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, asking him to “immediately open an investigation” into “the sexual assault scandal that’s plaguing the Loudoun County School Board.” The former state officials also expressed concerns about recently enacted legislation they contend “told local school systems not to report sexual assaults.”

The letter, signed by former attorneys general Jim Gilmore, Mark Earley, Jerry Kilgore, Robert McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli, comes after a Daily Wire investigative report that detailed the sexual assault of two teenage girls at two separate high schools in the district at the hands of the same trans-identified male that has sparked outrage in Loudoun County and nationwide. 

Loudoun Now reported that on Monday, the perpetrator of the assaults was convicted on one count of forcible sodomy and one count of forcible fellatio in relation to the first sexual assault, which took place in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Ridge High School on May 28.

The former attorneys general, who spent a combined total of nearly two decades as the top law enforcement official in the state, reported that “the Loudoun County School Superintendent and the School Board chose not to report two sexual assaults to parents.” A May 28 email obtained by local news outlet WTOP revealed that Loudoun County Superintendent of Schools Scott Ziegler informed board members that “a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom” earlier that day.

More than three weeks later, at a school board meeting that took place as the school district was considering implementing a policy allowing trans-identified students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity as opposed to their biological sex, Ziegler assured concerned parents that “To my knowledge, we don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”

The transgender bathroom policy was implemented on Aug. 10. Eight weeks later, the perpetrator of the May 28 sexual assault, who had been transferred to Broad Run High School, sexually assaulted another teenage girl in an empty classroom.

Shortly after the sexual assault at Broad Run High School, Scott Smith, the father of the victim in the first sexual assault, went public with his story, which was published less than a week later. While the school district has defended its handling of the sexual assaults, additional reporting by The Daily Wire and other news outlets has led parents and concerned citizens to demand further action.

“Given the broad powers of a State Attorney General, AG Herring should’ve stepped in once the horrific facts surfaced demonstrating that the Superintendent and the School Board knew of the assaults yet did nothing,” the former attorneys general wrote. “The actions of Loudoun County and the inaction of the Attorney General demonstrate a pattern of indifference toward sexual assaults.”

Maintaining that “parents have a right to know when sexual assaults occur in their school systems,” the signatories slammed the Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly for passing House Bill 257, which amended Virginia law regarding “reports of certain acts to school authorities.” 

During a debate on the legislation on the floor of the House of Delegates, Delegate Mike Mullin explained to his colleagues that “sexual battery” was among the misdemeanors that school officials would no longer have to report to law enforcement if a Senate amendment to the bill was passed. The former attorneys general also accused Herring of not pushing back strongly enough against the legislation: “AG Herring did nothing to stop the legislation during the General Assembly session even though his office reviews and comments on all legislation.”

Herring is seeking a third term in office. His Republican opponent in next week’s general election, state Rep. Jason Miyares, vowed in a tweet Tuesday that he will conduct an investigation if elected: “Mark Herring refuses to help. He won’t do the job. But I will.” 

Miyares also expressed support for Broad Run High School students engaging in a walkout to express support for sexual assault victims, stressing that “We need an immediate investigation into the Loudoun County School Board and their coverup of sexual assaults. Parents, students, and victims deserve better.” 

Recent polling of Virginia voters indicates a close race. A poll conducted by Emerson College late last week found Herring leading Miyares 47% to 44%, with the gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin tied. A poll from USA Today and Suffolk University yielded a similar result, with Herring leading Miyares 48% to 45% and McAuliffe leading Youngkin 46% to 45%. 

Regardless of what happens in the attorney general’s race, the legal proceedings surrounding the perpetrator of the two sexual assaults in Loudoun County Schools will continue. He is due back in court on Nov. 15 to face charges of sexual battery and abduction for the Broad Run High School incident. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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