Ex-Virginia school principal charged with sexual assault that stirred up governor’s race

The former superintendent of the Loudoun County, Virginia school system has been charged over his handling of two sexual assaults against female students in the district – a case that played a central role in Virginia’s gubernatorial election last year.

Scott Ziegler, who was fired from his position last week, was indicted by a special grand jury on one charge of misstatement, one charge of prohibited conduct and one charge of punishing an associate for a court appearance, Attorney General Jason Miyares said Monday .

Borough spokesman Wayde Byard was charged with a felony count of perjury on August 2 for allegedly lying under oath and placed on administrative leave.

Ziegler was released after the special jury issued a damning report on the assaults committed by the same male student on May 28, 2021 at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn and on October 6, 2021 at nearby Broad Run High School .

Former Loudon County Superintendent Scott Ziegler has been charged over his handling of two sexual assaults against students in the district.
Former Loudon County Superintendent Scott Ziegler has been charged over his handling of two sexual assaults against students in the district.
Loudoun County Public Schools

The incident drew national attention after the father of the victim of the first attack was arrested at a school board meeting on June 22, 2021. The father, identified as Scott Smith, had accused his daughter of being raped by a “boy in a skirt.”

At the same meeting, Ziegler said that “the predatory transgender student or person simply doesn’t exist,” adding that “to our knowledge, there are no records of assaults in our bathrooms.”

However, emails that surfaced weeks after the Oct. 6 attack indicated that Ziegler notified school board officials of the May 28 attack that same day. The grand jury’s special report described Ziegler’s remarks at the June 22 hearing as a “blatant lie.”

The attacker was quietly transferred to another school, allegedly in an effort to limit backlash over a county policy allowing students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

According to the grand jury’s special report, teachers at both schools warned school officials about the student’s troubling behavior weeks before each attack, with the teen’s grandmother warning a probation officer that her grandson was a “sociopath.”

In January this year, the boy was sentenced to an inpatient treatment facility until he was 18 and placed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life.

In delivering the verdict, Judge Pamela Brooks said psychosexual and psychological assessments of the teen “scared me.”

“I don’t know how else to put it. You scared me for yourself. You scared me for your family. They scared me for society,” she said.

A woman with a sign claiming the district "protects rapists" at a school board meeting on October 26, 2021.

A woman holds a sign claiming the district “protects rapists” at a school board meeting Oct. 26, 2021.


Scott Smith, the father of one of the victims, was arrested at a school board meeting on June 22, 2021.

Scott Smith, the father of one of the victims, was arrested at a school board meeting on June 22, 2021.


People protest Loudoun County Public Schools' handling of the sexual assault outside of a board meeting Oct. 12, 2021.

People protest Loudoun County Public Schools’ handling of the sexual assault outside of a board meeting Oct. 12, 2021.


Then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin vowed in the final days of the 2021 campaign to investigate Loudoun County Public Schools’ handling of the assaults, saying the district had “a duty of care and it failed.”

Youngkin signed the hours of inquiry after being sworn into office in January this year. The special jury was installed in April and indicted Ziegler and Byard in June and September respectively, although the indictments were not unsealed until Monday.

Two of Ziegler’s misdemeanor charges stem from his alleged retaliation against special education teacher Erin Brooks “for expressing views on matters of public interest” and appearing in court.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin claimed that county officials
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin claimed that county officials “didn’t do their job” in investigating the sexual assaults.
Emily Ball/Bristol Herald Courier via AP

Brooks filed a lawsuit against the school district in June, claiming her contract was not renewed after she complained that a student had repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

Youngkin expressed his gratitude to Miyares and the special jury in comments to WJLA-TV Sunday before the indictments were unsealed, saying the district “didn’t do its job.”

“The fact that it took an election, a new governor, and an executive order on day one to have this investigated, I think really speaks to what I think the Loudoun County School Board let everyone down and didn’t do the job.” “, he said.

“I’m so proud of the attorney general’s office,” Youngkin added. “And I want to thank the grand jury for the extensive effort and work they put into clarifying what was a horrible, horrible circumstance for all of Loudoun County and Virginia.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/12/ex-virginia-school-superintendent-indicted-over-sex-assaults-that-roiled-governors-race/ Ex-Virginia school principal charged with sexual assault that stirred up governor’s race

JACLYN DIAZ

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