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Sheriff Denies Superintendent’s Claim He Wasn’t Told Of Rape On Campus, Won’t Provide Security At School Board Meetings

Loudoun County, VA – Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) officials are vehemently denying Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Scott Ziegler’s claims that he was never notified about charges being filed against the 15-year-old gender-fluid male student who has since been convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl in a school bathroom.

Ziegler recently said he has never been alerted by the LCSO about a juvenile student being charged with a crime in his entire three-year stint with LCPS, WTOP reported.

“In my time as superintendent, I have not received any reports of crimes from local law enforcement,” he said in response to questions from school board member Ian Serotkin, according to WTOP.

“Zero?” Serotkin asked.

“Yes, sir, zero. I have not received any reports concurrent with the time a student was charged,” Ziegler insisted.

The superintendent’s denial suggested the sheriff’s office was to blame for allegedly keeping school officials in the dark about allegations of rape on LCPS campuses, according to WTOP.

“If the school division is not being notified by the sheriff’s office when we’re supposed to be, that’s extremely concerning, because it hampers our ability to conduct a complete Title IX investigation, and to take appropriate actions to keep our student body safe,” Serotkin told the news outlet.

Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman flatly denied such suggestions in an interview with WTOP.

“That’s completely false,” he said, referring to Ziegler’s claims.

Sheriff Chapman noted that school officials often contact the sheriff’s office to investigate incidents, to include the May 28 sexual assault of the 15-year-old girl in her school bathroom.

LCSO Colonel Mark Poland echoed the sheriff’s emphatic stance on the issue during a Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Wednesday, WTOP reported.

“They were notified,” Col. Poland reiterated. “They were absolutely notified.”

Sheriff Chapman announced his office will no longer provide security for LCPS school board meetings, WRC reported.

Earlier this fall, Ziegler told the sheriff he wanted a larger law enforcement presence at the meetings following the mayhem that erupted in June when Scott Smith, 48, accused LCPS and Stone Bridge High School officials of attempting to cover up the May 28 rape of his daughter in order to advance the transgender rights policy it was pushing at the time, FOX News reported.

The school board ultimately passed the new policy in August, months after school officials were made aware Smith’s ninth-grade daughter was raped in a school bathroom by a 15-year-old gender-fluid boy wearing a skirt.

Sheriff Chapman told WRC Ziegler had “asked for a SWAT team, he asked for a civil defense unit, he asked for undercover personnel, he wanted people stationed inside…and I was like, ‘no, we’re not gonna do that.”

“I don’t even think we had that many people present when we had presidential visits come to the county,” he added.

Sheriff Chapman explained his stance in a letter to Ziegler in August, telling him the school board was “firing people up and calling LCSO to clean it up,” WRC reported.

“We’re not going to put ourselves in that position again at your demand just to do this at the expense of preventing people from feeling comfortable about expressing their First Amendment right,” the sheriff told WRC.

Smith’s attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster, said the rapist was subsequently charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of forcible fellatio, and one count of anal sodomy, according to The Daily Wire.

He was convicted of those charges on Oct. 25, WTOP reported.

The teen who raped Smith’s daughter allegedly struck again at another school in the district on Oct. 6, according to FOX News.

The second incident, which occurred at Broad Run High School, involved allegations the teen forced another female student “into an empty classroom where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her,” the LCSO said in a press release.

The victim immediately reported the assault to a LCSO school resource officer.

The suspect was arrested on abduction and sexual battery charges, according to the sheriff’s office.

He is scheduled to appear in court for an adjudicatory hearing on that matter on Nov. 15, WTOP reported.

The judge previously said she plans to announce dispositions for both assaults on that date.

When Smith confronted the school board about the attack on his daughter during a public board meeting on June 22, Ziegler denied having “any record” of any assaults occurring in a LCPS bathroom, WJLA reported.

But according to an e-mail that surfaced late last month, Ziegler actually alerted the rest of the board about the May 28 sexual assault approximately one month prior to his public denial, FOX News reported.

The superintendent informed board members in the email that “a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom,” and that the LCSO had opened an investigation, WTOP reported.

Outraged parents and community members converged on the school board meeting on Oct. 26, demanding the board and Ziegler be held responsible for the coverup.

“You have buried a sexual assault to protect your precious 8040 [pro-transgender] policy,” declared Carrie Michon, whose grandchildren attend LCPS. “Every last one of you, resign!”

Loudon County GOP Women’s Club President Patti Hidalgo Menders said the board was “so concerned with pushing race and gender” that they “sacrificed our children,” FOX News reported.

“A girl was sexually assaulted in May, and you all knew about it,” Menders said. “The predator was put back in schools to sexually assault another girl. You all should be fired.”

Ziegler issued an apology on Oct. 15 after the demands for his resignation first began, WJLA reported.

“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,” Ziegler said during a press conference. “We acknowledge and share in your pain and we will continue to offer support to help you and your families through this trauma.”

Ziegler then noted that “Title IX directs how schools must investigate allegations of sexual harassment/assault and provides equal protection for both victims and the alleged perpetrators,” WJLA reported.

The superintendent said he believes more can be done to protect victims and that the Title IX protocols are insufficient, WTTG reported.

Smith said that after reporting the May 28 incident, his family was led to believe the suspect wouldn’t be allowed in school until after the case was adjudicated.

They were stunned to learn the alleged rapist was simply moved to another school.

Smith said Ziegler’s statement was the “first acknowledgement” his family has received that LCPS is “in fact responsible for their bad decision-making and policies that resulted in the two sexual assaults that happened in our high schools,” WTTG reported.

“Whether they end up being accountable to doing better by children and their parents or not, time will tell,” he continued. “This is not a situation solved by the words ‘I am sorry’, but it is a start to keeping all children safe at our schools.”

The Stanley Law Group, which is representing Smith’s family, blasted Ziegler for his “continued insistence that somehow the schools and the administration are not at fault for their conduct that led to the horrific sexual assault” on Smith’s daughter, WTTG reported.

“It is completely unacceptable and outrageous for Dr. Ziegler to blame the federal government’s Title IX protocols for the treatment of the Smith’s daughter and the subsequent sexual assault of yet another LCPS student,” the law firm’s statement read. “This demonstrates a cluelessness that explains the notoriety Loudoun County Public Schools have obtained over the last several months.”

The attorneys accused LCPS of prioritizing “misguided policies of political correctness over student safety,” and said the case should serve as a cautionary tale for other public school systems.

Despite the fact that school officials said they reported the first alleged rape to law enforcement on May 28, the LCPS school board denied having any knowledge about the incident when Smith confronted them during a June 22 public board meeting, FOX News reported.

“We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” Ziegler declared during the meeting.

A local activist then accused Smith’s daughter of lying about the alleged attack, at which point Smith flew into a rage, FOX News reported.

He ended up being tackled to the ground by deputies and dragged outside, according to the New York Post.

Smith was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 10 days suspended on Aug. 10.

He is appealing the conviction and is scheduled to go to court again in March of 2022, the New York Post reported.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the White House on Sept. 29 declaring Smith’s “heinous actions” during the school board meeting were “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the New York Post reported.

Smith’s case was just one of many examples the NSBA included in the letter.

The group alleged the incidents are evidence that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat” from a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” according to the New York Post.

“Immediate assistance is required,” the NSBA implored. “NSBA specifically solicits the expertise and resources of the US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Department of Homeland Security, US Secret Service, and its National Threat Assessment Center.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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