Loudoun County superintendent announces an ‘independent review’ into sexual misconduct allegations

The superintendent of the Loudoun County School District has announced there will be an independent review into its handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler wrote in a recent email to parents and staff that the district has hired the Blankingship and Keith P.C. law firm to conduct an independent review of the district’s handling of sexual assault allegations at two of its high schools.

He said district officials ‘believe we have followed all mandatory reporting protocols and aided law enforcement to the fullest extent allowed in all investigations regarding these matters.’

But, he said: ‘We acknowledge that these matters need to be fully reviewed.

‘Consequently, and with full support of the school board, Loudon County Public Schools hired Blankingship and Keith P.C on October 28, 2021 to conduct an independent review of these incidents.

‘Please know that this independent review is only one step in moving forward to help heal our school community,’ Ziegler wrote in the email, which was also posted to the district’s website on Friday.

‘We will keep you up-to-date about the steps we take and the progress we make,’ he said. ‘Together, we believe we can make our schools a safer, more nurturing environment for every student.’

Loudon County School District Superintendent wrote in an email to parents and staff members that the district has hired an independent contractor to review its handling of sexual assault allegations at two of its high schools

Loudon County School District Superintendent wrote in an email to parents and staff members that the district has hired an independent contractor to review its handling of sexual assault allegations at two of its high schools

Loudon County School District Superintendent wrote in an email to parents and staff members that the district has hired an independent contractor to review its handling of sexual assault allegations at two of its high schools

A rape was reported at Stone Bridge High School on May 28

A rape was reported at Stone Bridge High School on May 28

Another sexual assault allegation was reported at Broad Run High School on October 6

Another sexual assault allegation was reported at Broad Run High School on October 6

There were sexual assaults reported at two of the district’s high schools over the past year -first a rape at Stone Bridge High School, left, on May 28, and then a claim of sexual assault at Broad Run High School, right, on October 6

The district has hired Blankingship & Keith PC law firm to investigate the district's handling of these allegations

The district has hired Blankingship & Keith PC law firm to investigate the district's handling of these allegations

The district has hired Blankingship & Keith PC law firm to investigate the district’s handling of these allegations

The Virginia school district was thrust into the national spotlight amid allegations a 15-year-old boy wearing a skirt raped a female classmate in the girl’s bathroom at Stone Bridge High School on May 28.

One month later, Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth after listening to school officials deny that a girl had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape. 

The superintendent said at the time: ‘We don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms.’

But on the day of the incident, he sent an email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported, writing: ‘This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom.’

Soon, the issue exploded, with parents throughout the county protesting the school’s transgender policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, overtaking school board meetings and demanding that Ziegler resign.

He later apologized, FOX News reported, saying: ‘First, let me say to the families and students involved – my heart aches for you and I am sorry that we failed to provide the safe, welcoming and affirming environment that we aspire to provide.’

And on October 15, Ziegler said he ‘wrongly interpreted’ Smith’s question ‘about discipline incidents in bathrooms.’

‘I regret that my comments were misleading, and I apologize for the distress that error caused families,’ he said.

Still, the district has denied allegations of a cover-up with Wayne Byard, a spokesman for the district, telling FOX News in late October that the district reported the alleged assault on May 28 to the sheriff’s office ‘immediately,’ but because the incident was still under investigation, the report ‘could not be released to the general public’ at the time.

Another incident on October 6 at Broad Run High School, he noted, was also reported to the Sheriff’s Office immediately.

‘In the current politically-charged atmosphere, a lot of claims and demands have been made,’ Byard said in a statement, adding: ‘The focus of the superintendent and school board remains the education of Loudon County’s 81,000 students.’ 

The district was thrust into the national spotlight on June 22, when Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth after listening to school officials deny that his daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after she reported it to officials

The district was thrust into the national spotlight on June 22, when Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth after listening to school officials deny that his daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after she reported it to officials

The district was thrust into the national spotlight on June 22, when Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth after listening to school officials deny that his daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after she reported it to officials

Superintendent Scott Ziegler claimed that day that he'd received 'no report' of a sexual assault in the school bathrooms. But  on May 28, the day it happened, he sent this email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported, writing: 'This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom'

Superintendent Scott Ziegler claimed that day that he'd received 'no report' of a sexual assault in the school bathrooms. But  on May 28, the day it happened, he sent this email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported, writing: 'This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom'

Superintendent Scott Ziegler claimed that day that he’d received ‘no report’ of a sexual assault in the school bathrooms. But  on May 28, the day it happened, he sent this email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported, writing: ‘This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom’ 

Meanwhile, the 15-year-old boy was found guilty of the assault on October 25, when a judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction.

He was sent back to juvenile detention, pending a hearing November 15 on the second case which occurred at Broad Run High School in the same county on October 6, a month after the district transferred him there. 

In that incident, he allegedly pulled a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touched her.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, the boy’s mother, who asked not to be identified for the sake of her underage son, defended his actions as that of a heterosexual, hormonal teen who, in the case of the rape, had consensual sex with the girl twice before.

‘He’s a 15-year-old boy that wanted to have sex in the bathroom, with somebody that was willing,’ she declared, sitting in an empty kitchen in her townhouse in Loudoun County, Virginia. ‘And they’re twisting this just enough to make it a political hot button issue.’ 

She said that despite his androgynous style and declaration that he’s ‘pansexual,’ the boy’s mother insisted he isn’t the gender fluid boogeyman in a culture war about transgender policies.

‘He would wear a skirt one day and then the next day, he would wear jeans and a t-shirt, a Polo or hoodie,’ she explained. ‘He was trying to find himself and that involved all kinds of styles. I believe he was doing it because it gave him attention he desperately needed and sought.’

At the same time, she concedes her son is deeply troubled, acknowledging his extensive history of misbehavior that included sending nude photos of himself to a girl in fifth grade.

 Sources told DailyMail.com that police got involved but that the girl’s parents decided against pursuing charges, so long as the district kept him away from their daughter.

The mom confirmed the account, but snapped, ‘What the f**k does that have to do with anything?’

She said the politics surrounding the case has gotten out of hand.

‘What are they trying to do?’ she asked. ‘Did they hire an investigator to dig up everything and ruin him for the rest of his life?’

Soon, the issue exploded, with parents throughout the county protesting the school's transgender policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity

Soon, the issue exploded, with parents throughout the county protesting the school's transgender policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity

Soon, the issue exploded, with parents throughout the county protesting the school’s transgender policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity 

School board meetings were overtaken by parents demanding a say in the district

School board meetings were overtaken by parents demanding a say in the district

School board meetings were overtaken by parents demanding a say in the district

One school board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down as parents protested the school board's decisions

One school board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down as parents protested the school board's decisions

One school board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down as parents protested the school board’s decisions

Parents also protested outside the school board meeting

Parents also protested outside the school board meeting

Parents also protested outside the school board meeting 

Some parents demanded Ziegler resign, claiming the district covered up the rape allegation

Some parents demanded Ziegler resign, claiming the district covered up the rape allegation

Some parents demanded Ziegler resign, claiming the district covered up the rape allegation 

The mother made no secret of the fact her son had been repeatedly suspended for misbehavior, including fist fights with classmates.

‘He’s been a challenging child his whole life, which I’ve dealt with myself,’ the mother said. ‘My son’s gone through multiple forms of counseling and therapy, resources here, at school, friends, family. It’s been 15 years of hell trying to get him to do better and be better.’

Born in New Jersey, her son was just a baby when she and the father split. She packed up and left for Virginia in late 2007.

She enrolled her son in elementary school in Fairfax County before moving to Loudoun County. She described him as a smart kid who took several AP classes but didn’t do much homework and earned average grades.

From rape to sentencing: Timeline of teen boy in skirt  

May 28: Teen, 15, wearing a skirt allegedly rapes female classmate in girl’s bathroom. She reports it to the principal. Superintendent Scott Ziegler sends an email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported

June 22: Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth and arrested after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape

July 6: Detectives call the boy’s mother to report his imminent arrest. She drives him down to the station herself and he spends the next couple weeks at the juvenile detention center in nearby Leesburg

October 6: The 15-year-old changes schools and allegedly drags another a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touches her. Police are called and he is arrested the same day

October 25: Teen is found guilty for the May 28 sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School. The judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction 

October 26: Students stage a walkout of their classrooms in a show of ‘solidarity’ for the victim. Some stood in front of their school, chanting: ‘Loudoun County Protects Rapists!’ 

November 15: Skirt-wearing teen will be sentenced  

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He’d frequently act out, she said, and she’d do her best to dissect each incident with him.

After he sent the lewd photos in fifth grade, the mom said, ‘I walked him through every message exchange, photo exchange, and broke it down.

‘I was like, ‘Okay, this is what you sent,’ she recalled telling him. ‘What were you thinking? What were you hoping to get out of this?’ and then I’d be like, ‘This is not respectful. I did not raise you to be like this.’

The boy would spend Christmas with his dad in New Jersey. After Christmas 2018, she said, ‘He came back more defiant than usual’ and asked to live with his father and stepmom. He spent the next year-plus in the Garden State. It was during that period that he started having sex at age 13, the mom said.

In June 2020, he moved back in with his mom. The next year, his world imploded.

The rape happened the afternoon of May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day.

His victim admitted they’d previously had sex in the bathroom and that they’d arranged to meet there again at lunchtime.

According to her testimony, he followed her into a stall, where she told him she was not in the mood for sex, but he threw her on the floor and forced her to perform sex acts.

‘He flipped me over,’ she reportedly said in court. ‘I was on the ground and couldn’t move and he sexually assaulted me.’

He only stopped, she said, when someone else walked in.

She reported it, and the investigation began.

But the teen boy told his mother that the girl was sick that morning, and he accompanied her to the bathroom earlier in the day to make sure she was okay.

‘He said she wasn’t feeling well that day and that was the reason they entered the bathroom a first time that day,’ the mom told DailyMail.com. ‘He was worried about her, asked her how she was feeling, touched her forehead, brought water for her.’

According to the son, they talked about having sex later in the day.

‘He’d mentioned something about hooking up with her, said they’d discussed it that day and that she was wishy-washy, was like, yeah, “maybe, I still don’t feel well, we’ll see,” the mom recalled.

He followed her into the bathroom a second time that afternoon.

‘It started with, ‘Are you feeling okay’ and her responding that she was feeling much better than this morning,’ she said, relaying her son’s account. ‘And he advanced.’

He depicted the rape as an accident, telling his mother he didn’t mean to insert himself in her anus and was surprised when it caused her pain.

‘He said he was intending for vaginal and it ended up for 10 seconds as anal,’ the mom recalled.

‘He knew she was in pain,’ she said. ‘He said,’ ‘Are you okay?” She said that hurt. And he’s like, what kind of pain?’

She said she believed her son’s version of events , noting: ‘He was showing genuine concern.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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