The sheriff of Loudoun County, Virginia, is alleging that the county’s superintendent of schools knew about a sexual assault that took place in one of the district’s high schools despite his assertion to the contrary.
In a Nov. 10 letter to Superintendent of Schools Scott Ziegler, Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman responded to a letter Ziegler wrote expressing concern about “what may be inaccurate information that was shared at the Board of Supervisors meeting on November 3.”
Specifically, Ziegler alleged in his letter that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office did not inform the school district of charges against the perpetrator of a May 28 sexual assault in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School as required by state law.
At the board of supervisors meeting, a member of the sheriff’s office insisted that the school district was “notified” when the perpetrator was charged.
The May 28 sexual assault of a ninth-grade girl, which the public did not become aware of until a Daily Wire report was published last month, took place in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School at the hands of a boy allegedly wearing a skirt.
Ziegler asserted that the district wasn’t notified when charges were filed against the perpetrator, who was arrested in July.
“At this point, LCPS cannot confirm that we have received the required notification of charges from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office regarding this case,” Ziegler wrote.
The superintendent requested that “LCSO forward a copy of the notification of charges, the date it was sent, and to whom it was arrested, directly to the superintendent and principal of Stone Bridge High School.”
In his response, Sheriff Chapman suggested that Ziegler’s letter failed to include pertinent information regarding the school district’s response to the sexual assault.
Chapman told Ziegler that “you knew of the alleged sexual offense the day it occurred.”
“[D]espite a public statement at a School Board meeting on June 22, 2021 denying any knowledge of sexual assaults in any LCPS bathrooms, you sent an email on May 28, 2021 to members of the School Board advising them of the incident – thus invalidating your public statement,” Chapman wrote.
At the June 22 school board meeting, Ziegler assured parents concerned about a proposed policy that would allow trans-identified students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity that “we don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
The school board meeting, which became contentious at times, took place as the school district considered implementing Policy 8040. Enacted in August, the policy allows students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity instead of their biological sex.
Among those who showed up at the meeting to protest the policy was a father who said his 15-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted in a girls’ bathroom by a classmate on May 28.
Critics accused the school district of engaging in a cover-up to avoid derailing the bathroom policy supported by LGBT advocates.
As Chapman indicated in his letter, Superintendent Ziegler sent an email to school board members on May 28, noting that “a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom” earlier that day. That email was made public by local news outlet WTOP late last month.
Chapman lamented in the letter that “despite knowing the serious nature of the offense, LCPS decided to place this individual back into (another) high school population.”
“[T]he consequences of that decision resulted in a second student being victimized by the same defendant,” the sheriff wrote.
The second sexual assault took place at Broad Run High School on Oct. 6. The news about both sexual assaults broke less than a week later after the father of the May 28 sexual assault victim spoke publicly about the matter.
Chapman pushed back on the central allegation of Ziegler’s letter: that the sheriff’s office failed to inform the district of the perpetrator’s arrest.
“Just prior to the July 9, 2021 arrest, case investigator Detective Czekaj of the LCSO Special Victims Unit, communicated with Mr. Jason Bickmore of the Loudoun County Juvenile Court Service Unit (JCSU),” the sheriff wrote.
“She asked if ‘we’ (LCSO) should make the arrest notification to LCPS. Mr. Bickmore advised that JCSU would make the notification as it is their responsibility to do so. In a post-arrest conversation between Detective Czekaj and Mr. Bickmore, Mr. Bickmore confirmed the notification was sent by letter to LCPS, which LCPS could then disseminate for safety purposes.”
Chapman further alleged that Lieutenant Colonel Bobby Miller confirmed with Loudoun County’s Juvenile Court Service Unit on Oct. 28 that “notification was made to LCPS.”
Additionally, Chapman maintained that a conversation took place between Bickmore, Director of School Administration Doug Fulton and Broad Run High School Principal Dave Spage “regarding the defendant’s court-ordered disposition.”
“[T]he sequence of events and review of applicable Virginia Codes clearly demonstrates that you and your leadership staff at LCPS were aware of the offense; the suspect’s arrest; and the judicial process involving the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Intake, and Juvenile Court from the time of the original sexual assault to the time of the defendant’s conviction,” Chapman’s letter reads.
“Despite that, LCPS opted to place this individual in another school where a second sexual assault allegedly occurred. If there were any lapses in communication directly to you throughout this process that impacted your decision making, it would seem it occurred within LCPS’ own administration.”
Last month, a Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations judge charged the teenage boy with two counts of sexual assault related to the May 28 incident, according to a statement from the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
The statement reported that “the evidence established that the two students agreed to meet in the school’s bathroom as they had on two prior occasions.” During an October hearing, the 15-year-old victim testified that she had consensual sexual encounters with the defendant on two prior occasions but was forced to perform nonconsensual sex acts during the May 28 encounter.
Last week, the alleged perpetrator pleaded no contest to abduction and sexual battery charges in connection with the second sexual assault. He is due back in court on Dec. 13.
In his letter, Chapman voiced concerns with LCPS's plans to conduct an independent review, questioning the "legitimacy of such a review." Chapman voiced support for a review done by the Virginia Attorney General's Office. On Tuesday, Virginia Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares vowed to launch an investigation into Loudoun County School Board's handling of the two sexual assaults.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org