Federal Probe Targets Loudoun County Schools Handling of Sexual Assaults

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
April 11, 2023US News
Federal Probe Targets Loudoun County Schools Handling of Sexual Assaults
The Department of Education in Washington on July 22, 2019. (Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Education (DOE) has opened an investigation into whether Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) failed to respond appropriately to two reports of sexual assault as required under the provisions of Title IX.

The federal civil rights probe is the result of a letter (pdf) from the America First Legal Foundation (AFLF) that was sent to the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on Jan. 18 regarding concerns over the school division’s failure to respond to students’ reports of sexual assault as required by Title IX, according to a letter (pdf) sent to AFLF senior adviser Ian Prior that was reviewed by NTD News.

“Because OCR has determined that it has jurisdiction and that the complaint was timely filed, OCR is opening the complaint for investigation,” the letter reads. “Based on the information you provided, OCR will investigate the following issue: Whether the school division is failing to respond as required by Title IX to notice of sexual assault in School Division high schools.”

In a statement on April 10, Prior commended the department for launching the probe, saying it is “paramount” for the Northern Virginia school district to “enact and enforce policies to keep students safe while at school.”

The investigation follows revelations that a male student who was wearing a skirt and claimed to be “gender fluid” sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl on May 28, 2021, in the girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School.

After the incident, the perpetrating student was allowed to transfer to Broad Run High School, where he committed a second assault about five months later on Oct. 6, 2021. In that incident, the same boy forced a female student into an empty classroom, held her against her will, and toucher her inappropriately.

In January 2022, that boy was sentenced to probation at a residential treatment facility until his 18th birthday in July 2024 after being found guilty in October 2021 on counts of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio for the May 2021 assaults. In November 2021, he pleaded no contest to his sexual assault of a fellow student at Broad Run High School.

The DOE’s probe is the latest development in the sexual assault case that saw an LCPS board member fired after a special grand jury report said he lied about the rape committed by the transgender student.

NTD Photo
Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler during a school board meeting in Ashburn, Va., on June 22, 2021. (LCPS/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

On Dec. 6, the board voted unanimously to fire embattled superintendent Scott Ziegler without cause, the Virginia school district’s spokesman, Wayde Byard, told The Epoch Times.

The move came after a special grand jury in Loudoun County released a 91-page report on Dec. 5 condemning Ziegler and other school officials for displaying a “stunning lack of openness” about the incidents.

Family’s Response

Scott Smith, the father of the 15-year-old sexual assault victim, told FOX 5 in a statement that he believes the DOE’s investigation into whether LCPS potentially violated Title IX is “meaningless.”

“It’s like the National School Board, who branded me a domestic terrorist, saying that they are going now to investigate the harm put upon my family—it’s biased, and the only result that the USDOE will come to is that Loudoun did everything right, in order to protect it from truth and reason,” Smith said.

NTD Photo
Scott Smith, father of the rape victim, during a media interview in front of the Loudoun County District Courthouse in Leesburg, Va., on Jan. 12, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

“You have to question why now, over a year later, that suddenly the federal government is interested in this problem,” he continued. “Is it to root out wrongdoing or is it actually to make an effort to protect the wrongdoer, the Loudoun County School Board, that adopted the harmful left-leaning policies that the federal government actively agrees with regarding the education of our children? Any investigation by the federal department of education is an absolute farce, and any conclusions it may come to as completely untrustworthy.”

In an emailed statement to NTD News on Tuesday, an LCPS spokesperson confirmed that it had received a notification on the DOE’s federal civil rights probe, noting that it “will duly assist OCR in this process.”

“The staff and administration of LCPS remain committed to making student safety and welfare the Division’s highest priority,” the statement said. “As this investigation relates to matters concerning student privacy, we will not comment further at this time.”

Smith, during an interview with The Epoch Times last year, said he was “still very angry at the justice system” as he explained his arrest after getting into an argument about his daughter’s sexual assault at a school board meeting. The incident was later cited as an example of alleged “domestic terrorism” committed by parents targeting school boards.

“This wasn’t about getting somebody elected to a school board or getting somebody fired. This was war,” he said at the time.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.