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Loudoun County schools accused of failing to report multiple alleged sexual assaults over several years, in apparent violation of the law

Loudoun County schools accused of failing to report multiple alleged sexual assaults over several years, in apparent violation of the law

Already under fire for allegedly concealing two sexual assaults from the public, Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia is now accused of failing to report multiple known incidents of alleged sexual assault in schools despite a state law that requires such reporting.

Virginia law mandates that "Reports shall be made to the division superintendent and to the principal or his designee on all incidents involving … sexual assault."

But according to the Daily Wire, LCPS has in at least three instances failed to report statistics on sexual assaults to a public database administered by the Virginia Department of Education that was set up so that schools can comply with the law.

Earlier this week, the Daily Wire first reported that school officials in Loudoun County never disclosed to the public that a ninth-grade girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a gender-fluid male student in a school restroom in May. This same male student allegedly assaulted another girl at a different school later in October, the Daily Wire reported.

A 15-year-old male student has been charged in two alleged sexual assaults in Loudoun County schools, one in May and one in October.

Though the school now acknowledges that the incidents occurred, the Daily Wire found that LCPS reported to the state database that Stone Bridge High School had zero sexual assaults for the 2020-21 school year, which includes May 28, 2021, the date of the first alleged assault.

Also, the school failed to report a case from October 2018 in which three football players at Tuscorara High School were arrested and charged with sexual assault. The case, which was widely publicized at the time, involved a younger player who was "held down by teammates who inserted objects into the victim" in a locker room. That year, Tuscorara did not report any instances of sexual offenses against students to Virginia's public database, as required by law.

It is unknown how many other cases of sexual assault have gone unreported by LCPS.

A spokesman for the Virginia Department of Education told the Daily Wire, "VDOE is reviewing the discipline, crime and violence data submissions of Loudoun County Public Schools and is in communication with LCPS to determine whether the division's reporting is accurate and whether the division is in compliance with state and federal law."

It's possible that LSPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler could be held personally responsible if the school district did not follow the law.

Virginia law states: "The division superintendent shall annually report all such incidents to the Department of Education for the purpose of recording the frequency of such incidents on forms that shall be provided by the Department and shall make such information available to the public."

The law also says, "A division superintendent who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the sanctions authorized in § 22.1-65. A principal who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this section shall be subject to sanctions prescribed by the local school board, which may include, but need not be limited to, demotion or dismissal."

LCPS denied that school board members had knowledge of the "specific details" of the May 28 incident until it was reported by media outlets this week. But it seems unlikely that the superintendent was unaware of what happened, given that the incident was reported to police and an investigation was opened. Over the summer, during debate on a proposed policy to permit transgender students to use whichever restroom they want, school officials told the public that there was no record of sexual assaults in restrooms at any Loudoun County school.

"To my knowledge, we don't have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms," Ziegler said during a June 22 school board meeting.

But three weeks earlier, on May 28, Loudoun County resident Scott Smith says his daughter was sexually assaulted in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School. Both the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and a statement from LCPS confirmed that police were contacted after an incident at the school. While the school district has refused to discuss details of the incident since it involved minors, the sheriff's office told Fox News the case "involved sexual assault."

"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," LCPS said in a statement on Wednesday, after public outcry against school officials based on the Daily Wire's reporting.

"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," the district said.

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