A Virginia school superintendent notified officials about an alleged sexual assault of a student in a bathroom weeks before he denied having “any record” of such an incident, a report said.
Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler reportedly emailed school board members to tell them about the alleged attack on the same day it happened, but claimed in a public meeting weeks later that “we don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
Ziegler’s May 28 email said “[t]his afternoon a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom” of Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, according to radio station WTOP.
Ziegler added that the local sheriff’s office was investigating the claim.
The case has drawn national attention after the victim’s father claimed to The Daily Wire earlier that the boy who assaulted his daughter was transferred to a different high school, where he assaulted another girl earlier this month.
The father, Scott Smith, was arrested after confronting officials about the alleged attack at a June 22 school board meeting, where he claimed that his daughter had been assaulted by a “boy in a skirt.”
At the same meeting, Ziegler reportedly said that “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist,” and added that to his knowledge, “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
In his May 28 email, Ziegler reportedly wrote that “the female student’s parent responded to the school and caused a disruption by using threatening and profane language that was overheard by staff and students,” an apparent reference to Smith.
“Additional law enforcement units responded to the school to assist with the parent,” Ziegler added. “The school’s counseling team is providing services for students who witnessed the parent’s behavior.”
At that point, Ziegler added: “The alleged victim is being tended to by” law enforcement.
Smith was convicted in August of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in connection with the June 22 incident, according to a report by Loudoun Now. He was given a suspended sentence of 10 days in jail, contingent upon a year of good behavior.
On Sept. 29, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) referenced Smith’s arrest in a letter to President Biden that suggested incidents involving parents protesting issues like mask mandates and critical race theory in schools “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
Five days later, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the FBI would take the lead in responding to what he called “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
Last week, Ziegler apologized for his comments at the June 22 meeting, admitting that they were “misleading” and saying that the district “failed to provide the safe, welcoming, and affirming environment that we aspire to provide.”
The superintendent attempted to explain away his “predator transgender” comment by claiming that he had wrongly believed a question about sexual assaults in school bathrooms was “about the process, the experiences of students, and plans for transgender students and bathroom use during that discussion.”
“I apologize for the distress that error caused families,” Ziegler said. “I will do better in the future.”
On the same day, school board member Beth Barts resigned, though she did not disclose her reasons for doing so.
The case has also made waves in the tightly contested race for Virginia governor. Earlier this week, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin called for the commonwealth’s attorney general to investigate Loudoun County Public Schools, claiming the district “had a duty of care and they failed.”
Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj told WTOP that a 15-year-old boy has been charged in both the alleged May 28 assault and a reported attack on Oct. 6 at Broad Run High School. Biberaj told the station the teen was on pretrial electronic monitoring when he was arrested and charged with sexual battery and abduction in the second incident.