Virginia AG seeks closed hearing as Loudoun Co. School Board battles special grand jury investigation

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to have Monday’s injunction hearing closed to the public, with documents sealed, as the Loudoun County School Board fights a state-led effort to investigate how it handled two high-profile sexual assault cases involving the same 15-year-old suspect.

"I was saddened," said Scott Smith, a parent of one of the two student victims sexually assaulted

However, after thinking on the matter and discussing with others, Smith told FOX 5 on Friday, "A special grand jury is exactly what it is … It’s supposed to be secretive until they release their findings."

Smith said what’s important to his family is that the special grand jury proceedings are completed.

Last year, the 15-year-old student was accused of attacking a teenage girl inside a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School. As the investigation and court proceedings continued in that case, the teen was allowed to enroll in Broad Run High School, where he sexually assaulted a second girl.

In January, a judge found the 15-year-old guilty of sexual battery, abduction and two counts of sodomy.

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Loudoun County Public Schools obtained a firm to review the matter but did not release findings, citing privacy reasons.

Smith told FOX 5 he is grateful to the Virginia Governor for issuing an executive order, allowing the state’s attorney general the authority to convene a special grand jury to investigate LCPS' handlings. A move considered to be unprecedented.

That authority is what’s being challenged in an injunction hearing slated for 10 a.m on Monday, July 11.

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office filed the motion to keep the hearing private on July 5, because the hearing involves the special grand jury. "Since the 17th century, grand jury proceedings have been closed to the public," a line from the motion reads. 

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"I feel that the special grand jury will come up with something that will hopefully make some people accountable and bring safety and common sense back to our schools," Smith said.

"I’m surprised it’s closed because the board of education has come under such criticism for working in secrecy. So, I understand that each individual has rights in this, but it’s just so abhorrent to me that this even happened and happened again," said Charlotte Bonini, one of several residents FOX 5 spoke with in the area about the matter. 

A handful of people, teachers included, told FOX 5 off-camera they want the case resolved appropriately.

A LCPS spokesperson told FOX 5 the school system does not comment on pending litigation.

Smith plans to attend the Monday hearing. The judge will decide then whether the public can remain.