RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The sexual assault of a Loudoun County highschool pupil final 12 months ought to have been prevented, and the varsity district “bears the brunt of the blame,” a grand jury investigation concluded.

The particular grand jury report launched on Monday additionally discovered there was “no coordinated cover-up” between senior directors and native college board members, who have been largely left at the hours of darkness because the district navigated nationwide scrutiny over two sexual assaults at totally different excessive faculties dedicated by the identical pupil.

However, the report accused college leaders of working towards “intentional institutional amnesia” and perpetuating a “tradition of concern” to stop key particulars from changing into public. It stated officers “failed at each juncture” to stop the scenario from escalating.

“We consider that all through this ordeal LCPS directors have been looking for their very own pursuits as a substitute of the perfect curiosity of LCPS. This invariably led to a surprising lack of openness, transparency, and accountability,” the report stated.

The controversy grabbed nationwide headlines and have become a political flashpoint throughout statewide elections final 12 months. Hours after taking workplace in January 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an govt order giving Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares the authority to research the varsity district’s conduct.

Miyares empaneled the particular grand jury in April 2022. Its 9 members heard testimony from greater than 40 witnesses and reviewed over 100 items of proof, in keeping with the 92-page report.

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The Loudoun County School Board filed an injunction to cease the grand jury investigation, arguing it was politically motivated. The Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a decrease courtroom’s choice to permit it to maneuver ahead.

The report claims a pupil “labeled as gender fluid” dedicated the primary sexual assault in May 2021 within the lady’s toilet at Stone Bridge High School. It stated, after the incident occurred, the varsity’s principal communicated incomplete info to folks that by no means talked about the sexual assault or that the accused pupil was lacking for hours afterwards.

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The grand jury report claims LCPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler lied when he stated he did not know of “any report of assaults occurring in our restrooms” throughout a June 2021 college board assembly, citing inside emails suggesting in any other case. The report stated Stone Bridge High School’s principal additionally examined that Ziegler’s assertion was “not true.”

After the primary incident, the coed was transferred to Broad Run High School, the place he choked and sexually assaulted one other feminine pupil in an empty classroom in October 2021, in keeping with the report.

Prior to the second assault, college officers have been accused of ignoring a number of indicators that the coed was a menace, together with warnings from employees, fellow college students and his personal grandmother.

“It is our thought-about judgment that the October 6, 2021 sexual assault at BRHS by no means ought to have occurred,” the report reads. “Had any one among a variety of people throughout a wide range of spoken up or realized a major problem was brewing relating to earlier incidents at BRHS then the sexual assault most definitely wouldn’t have occurred. But no person did.”

The report stated directors additionally didn’t adequately self-discipline the coed earlier than the conduct escalated, contradicting claims that the varsity complied with its Title IX obligations.

“Behind the scenes, the LCPS Title IX procedures have been primarily nonexistent, the employees was inexperienced, senior officers squabbled, and the superintendent was conscious of all of it,” the report stated.

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The report lays out suggestions for Loudoun County Public Schools to implement sooner or later. Some of the suggestions are to:

  • embody as a lot info as moderately potential when informing dad and mom, employees, college students, and the group about vital incidents occurring on college property, on a faculty bus, or at a school-sponsored occasion
  • re-examine its switch course of by establishing a formalized protocol that requires extra vigorous cooperation and communication between, not solely the 2 principals concerned, but in addition, LCPS administration, assistant principals, college, SROs, and when related, the commonwealth’s legal professional’s workplace, juvenile authorities courtroom and the LCSO
  • extra involvement from the LCPS director of security and safety wants in conditions that threaten the security and safety of scholars, college and employees
  • Loudoun County School Board ought to tighten insurance policies on the sorts of apps college students can obtain on their school-issued gadgets

In an announcement on Monday, Loudoun County School Board Chair Jeff Morse and Vice Chair Ian Serotkin stated, “We are happy that the Special Grand Jury’s in depth investigation discovered no proof of felony conduct on the a part of anybody inside LCPS, and never a single indictment was filed on account of this prolonged course of.”

The assertion additionally contradicted a earlier assertion from Miyares alleging that LCPS “lined up a sexual assault on college grounds for political achieve.”

“To the perfect of our information, this allegation was not true, and, after conducting an eight-month investigative course of, throughout which it had the power to interview any LCPS worker, Board member, and another people past the LCPS group it deemed related, and through which it had entry to just about any LCPS report that was not in any other case legally privileged, the Special Grand Jury neither cited any proof to assist this severe allegation nor made any such conclusion in its report,” Morse and Serotkin stated.

Morse and Serotkin stated the board would maintain speedy discussions concerning the “severe criticisms of LCPS workers and processes.” The assertion stated this may be positioned on their subsequent agenda to replicate on suggestions and take motion as decided by the complete Board.

A spokesperson for Miyares did not reply to an interview request on Monday however Miyares launched a video assertion.

“It is clear that the Loudoun County School Board failed to offer correct oversight, accountability and transparency on the superintendent and their employees exactly at a time when the victims wanted them essentially the most,” Miyares stated. “It is our hope that this grand jury report will result in optimistic change, not simply in Loudoun County faculties, but in addition in each college district within the Commonwealth, as a result of the safety of our youngsters ought to be all of our primary precedence.”

In a tweet, Governor Youngkin referred to as the report “an essential step in the direction of accountability.”

This story is creating. Check again for updates.

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