Judge allows grand jury to investigate how Loudoun County Public Schools handled sex assault cases
LEESBURG, Va. - A Loudoun County Circuit Court judge will not stop a special grand jury from investigating how the Loudoun County School Board handled two different sexual assault cases involving the same student suspect.
The School Board recently filed an injunction to stop Virginia's Attorney General from convening a special grand jury, arguing the grand jury had no authority to intervene. But after hearing their arguments, the judge wasn’t convinced this grand jury would cause the school board irreparable harm, allowing the special proceeding to keep going.
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The decision means the special grand jury will move forward in investigating how a 15-year-old boy sexually assaulted a schoolmate in a Stone Bridge High School bathroom and while awaiting trial, attended Broad Run High School where he is accused of sexually assaulting another teenage girl.
In January, a judge found the 15-year-old guilty of sexual battery, abduction and two counts of sodomy. Loudoun County Public Schools has not released the results of their investigation citing privacy reasons.
Jessica Smith, the mother of the Stone Bridge High School victim, told FOX 5 after today's ruling that she was "very thankful that it played out the way it did today."
"We need the special grand jury to do their due diligence and do the work that needs to be done in order for justice to be upheld," she said.
When asked what she believes the School Board did wrong, Mrs. Smith said, "They didn’t do their job."
"They didn't protect our daughter," said Scott Smith, Jessica's husband.
"They delayed our daughter to receive the help she needed," Mrs. Smith added. "She needed d to receive help immediately."
The Smith family told FOX 5 they did want the proceeding closed to the public after learning about the Attorney General Office’s request last week. Mr. Smith expressed concern the prosecutors would be limited in their arguments if certain information related to the grand jury could not be shared in a courtroom open to the public.
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Attorney General Jason Miyares issued a statement calling today a win for parents and students all across the Commonwealth.
"We are pleased with the court’s ruling dismissing the School Board’s complaint and affirming Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Four," the statement reads. "This is a win for parents and students across the Commonwealth. I will never stop fighting for justice and to protect the families of Loudoun County, and the Commonwealth."
A Loudoun County Public Schools spokesperson sent FOX 5 the following statement on the matter:
"While Loudoun County Public Schools does not agree with all of the rulings Judge Plowman issued earlier today, it appreciates the Court’s thoughtfulness in addressing these complex matters. LCPS is currently considering all available legal options, but has not made any final decisions at this point."