Parents Want Answers After 2 Alleged Sexual Assaults at Loudoun County Schools

Loudoun County school officials are under fire once again. This time, parents want answers on how the school district is keeping their kids safe after two alleged sexual assaults. Emotions were running high last June at a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. During a heated exchange, Scott Smith, a 48-year-old parent from Leesburg, was arrested for obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct.

Months have passed, but the hard feelings are far from over. “My family has been unfortunately pulled into this nightmare,” said Smith, who gave 7News an exclusive interview.

Scott Smith, a father of a Loudoun County student, was arrested earlier this year at a school board meeting. He says his daughter was sexually assaulted inside the bathroom of her school (7News)

Smith says he attended the board meeting looking for answers after a male student wearing a skirt was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting his daughter in a bathroom at the Stone Bridge High School back in May.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department confirms that a sexual assault did happen in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School on May 28. They said in a statement Wednesday that they arrested a 14-year-old boy in the case. It took place approximately one month before Smith’s arrest at the school board meeting, and Smith says that’s why he was so upset.

In a statement, the sheriff’s office said:

“There has been misinformation circulating regarding an investigation into a reported sexual assault that occurred on May 28, 2021, at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, VA. Due to exclusions under the Virginia Code regarding disclosure of juvenile reports and the fact the case is pending court proceedings, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is limited as to what information can be released.

On May 28, 2021, an LCSO School Resource Officer was notified by Stone Bridge High School staff of a possible sexual assault. A thorough investigation and evidentiary analysis was conducted over the course of several weeks by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit.

Once the elements of a crime were determined, on July 8, 2021, a 14-year-old male was arrested in the case with two counts of forcible sodomy.

Following the arrest on July 8, 2021, the judicial process was turned over to the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to determine bail, or in the case of a juvenile, the continuance of detention or other legal restrictions set forth as part of court proceedings in the Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

As stated in both the current and former Memorandum of Understanding between the LCSO and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office is not involved in school discipline (nor the placement of students). Nevertheless, the LCSO works closely with school officials throughout all criminal investigations.

The October 6, 2021 incident at Broad Run High School did not involve complex circumstances, the arrest was immediate, and the arrest was reported to the community as information released was unlikely to disclose the identity of the victim. However, the May 28, 2021 investigation was different in that the suspect and victim were familiar with each other, the investigation was complex, and a public announcement had the potential to identify a juvenile victim.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to the safety of all students and will investigate all incidents reported by Loudoun County Public Schools to the fullest extent of the law.”

And the problems on school property are not limited to Stone Bridge. On October 6th, a Sheriff’s Department tweet detailed another alleged assault by the same student at Broad Run High School.

Smith is demanding some answers from Loudoun County School officials.

“How could you allow this alleged sexual predator to return to a Loudoun County public school before the court was wrapped up with our court situation,” said Smith.

7News went looking for answers from District Superintendent Scott Ziegler at the Loudoun County School offices. We were met by Wayde Byard, the LCPS Public Information Officer.

“If you put the camera and microphone down you can come in,” he said. I told him that my camera is always recording and proceeded to tell him why we were there.

Byard replied, “We are going to make a statement here in a bit.” I replied that I would like to talk to Dr. Ziegler on camera and pointed out that we had been asking for an interview. Byard replied, “You will have a statement.”

Meantime, Smith is not the only parent upset at the way the assaults have been handled. At Tuesday’s School Board meeting, parents voiced outrage, insisting that school officials have not been transparent about the sexual assaults at the schools.

One angry parent remarked, “How do you expect parents across this county to drop their children off at school and trust you all to keep them safe when you have shown on more than one occasion you are not up for the job?”

In a public statement, school officials said that board members are typically not given details of disciplinary matters and the board was not aware of the specific details of the incident until it was reported in the media earlier this week.

Here’s the full statement from LCPS:

“Loudoun County Public Schools is aware of the media and social media reports concerning alleged sexual assaults at two of our high school campuses. While LCPS takes student privacy seriously and cannot reveal details concerning the actions of any specific student, we do want to clarify our investigative process. Principals are legally required to report to the local law enforcement agency any act, including sexual assault, that may constitute a felony offense under Va. Code 22.1-279.3:1. That process was followed with respect to these allegations. Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was contacted within minutes of receiving the initial report on May 28. Once a matter has been reported to law enforcement, LCPS does not begin its investigation until law enforcement advises LCPS that it has completed the criminal investigation. To maintain the integrity of the criminal investigation, law enforcement requested that LCPS not interview students until their investigation is concluded. LCPS has cooperated and continues to cooperate with law enforcement.

Furthermore, LCPS is prohibited from disciplining any student without following the Title IX grievance process, which includes investigating complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. LCPS does impose interim measures to protect the safety of students involved in the original incident, deter retaliation, and preserve the integrity of the investigation and resolution process. LCPS has complied and continues to comply with its obligations under Title IX.

School Board members are typically not given details of disciplinary matters. The board may be obligated to consider long-term suspensions or expulsions and must ensure that students have not been deprived of due process. Consequently, members of the Loudoun County School Board were not aware of the specific details of this incident until it was reported in media outlets earlier this week. We are unable to locate any records that indicate that Scott Smith had registered in advance to speak at the June 22, 2021 board meeting.”

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