Loudoun County Schools to Release Report on Investigation into Handling of Sexual Assault Allegations
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Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) said on Tuesday he would not release the report of an investigation into how he treated two sexual assault allegations in the neighborhood.
In a statement to Fox News, spokesperson Wayde Byard acknowledged the report was complete, but said it would not be made public.
“The report is complete,” he said in an email. “Disclosure in its entirety is prohibited under the Virginia Code § 2.2-3705.1 (2) regarding documents protected by solicitor-client privilege. In addition, parts of the record are prohibited from disclosure under the Code § 2.2-3705.4 (A) (1) relating to school information and Va. Code § 2.2-3705.1 (1) relating to personal information concerning identifiable persons. ”
When asked if he plans to release the report in the near future, Byard replied, “No.”
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Ian Prior, who heads Fight for Schools PAC, an anti-criticism of racial theory, told Fox News on Tuesday: “Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler must publish this report or be fired.” Prior is a father of Loudoun and a former Trump administration official who is not affiliated with LCPS and has no authority over Ziegler’s employment.
Loudoun Now had reported the district’s denial on Tuesday after months of controversy surrounding the school district’s handling of sexual assault charges. The county’s sexual assault issues have ignited debate in Virginia’s gubernatorial race and is seen as one of the main reasons for Republican governor Glenn Youngkin’s victory.
Right after the election, Ziegler noted that the school system hired an outside law firm to conduct an internal investigation into the assault allegations that took place at Stone Bridge and Broad Run high schools.
Prior told Fox News: “According to Ziegler’s own statement, on October 28, 2021, they hired a company to do an ‘independent’ review of how the two sexual assaults were handled. Ziegler conveniently waited to keep the public informed until after Jason Miyares was elected and announced he would conduct his own investigation. Now Ziegler is hiding behind solicitor-client privilege. “
Careful consideration of the district’s response to the allegations
The LCPS received increased attention in June when the father of a victim, Scott Smith, was arrested at one of the highly controversial county school board meetings. The boy accused of assaulting Smith’s daughter later allegedly groped a student at nearby Broad Run High School after forcing her into an empty classroom, Loudoun County District Attorney Buta Biberaj said. told OMPP in an interview.
In October, a judge declared the boy “not innocent” of the Stone Bridge assault. For the Broad Run allegations, the boy has not pleaded any dispute as part of a deal in which he accepted convictions while avoiding admitting his guilt.
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News surfaced on Wednesday that the suspect had been sentenced to supervised probation at a residential treatment center.
A long list of questions surfaced about the district’s actions prior to this verdict. Ziegler, for his part, has apologized, saying he was “sorry that we have failed to provide the safe, welcoming and affirming environment that we aspire to provide”.
In announcing its investigation, the LCPS defended itself but recognized that the matter should be “fully reconsidered”.
“We believe we have followed all mandatory reporting protocols and assisted law enforcement to the fullest extent possible in all investigations into these matters,” the statement said.
Still, the LCPS decision will likely upset many, as some have accused the school district of mismanagement and of trying to cover up the assault. On June 22, Ziegler noted that to his knowledge, “we have no trace of assaults in our toilets.”
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But in a November email to Ziegler, Sheriff Mike Chapman alleged that the superintendent knew about the assault “the day it happened.”
Chapman pointed to an email from May 28 in which Ziegler informed the board of directors of “an incident at Stone Bridge HS. This afternoon, a student alleged that a student sexually assaulted her in the bathroom”. According to Chapman’s letter, Juvenile Intake also informed LCPS of the suspect’s arrest on July 9 – months before the second Broad Run assault.
LCPS confirmed the email to Fox News in October, noting that specific details were missing.
“In this case, the superintendent sent an email message to the board on Friday, May 28, 2021. A copy of this email message is attached,” the school district said. “In the post, board members were generally informed that a suspected incident had taken place and that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the incident.”
As stated by LCPS, the school board has not received specific details or the names of those involved, and has been advised by Dr. Ziegler that it will not receive updates regarding this matter because she was under investigation by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. moment thereafter until recent reports are published. “
Chapman’s November letter added: “Despite the gravity of the offense, the LCPS has decided to release this person into custody. [another] high school population ”, and“ the consequences of this decision resulted in a second student being the victim of the same accused ”on October 6 at Broad Run High School.
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It is unclear exactly what Ziegler personally knew about the boy’s conduct and his transfer to another school. LCPS declined to comment and Ziegler did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Fox News is not aware of any information suggesting that Ziegler knew of details about the incident or was involved in the author’s transfer to another school.
Chapman suggested that the school district had allowed a second assault and questioned “the legitimacy of such a review conducted at [Superintendent Scott Ziegler’s] direction.”
He added, “As the Attorney General is accountable to the citizens of Virginia, I believe a review by the Attorney General is the most objective way forward on this issue.”
Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares has vowed to investigate the matter.
Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed to this report.
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