Virginia Supreme Court Rejects Loudoun County Public Schools’ Request to Seal Appeal in Sexual Assault Investigation

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares convened a special grand jury in April to investigate how Loudoun County Public Schools handled two sexual assault incidents. Governor Glenn Youngkin authorized the AG to look into the matter via executive order.

The investigation stems from an incident last year, when a girl said a boy followed her into the girls’ restroom and raped her. The school board, accused of covering up the crime, allowed the boy to attend a different school, where he assaulted another girl.

The school board asked a lower court to dismiss the grand jury investigation, and the court refused. Loudoun County Public Schools sought to appeal the ruling and asked the Virginia Supreme Court to file the appeal under seal. WTOP reported on Monday that the state’s highest court has rejected that request. An excerpt:

WTOP has been seeking details on the appeal from the school board’s attorneys, John Cafferky, Robert Scully and Juli Porto. A school system spokesperson told WTOP on Aug. 18 that the issue of whether an attorney general has the authority to conduct a special grand jury investigation has wide-ranging implications for all school boards and local government bodies in Virginia.

Monday, Virginia’s Supreme Court ruled “additional sealing is unwarranted” and ordered Loudoun County’s School Board to file a redacted copy of its appeal within eight days.

The school board, which will have to air all its dirty laundry in public, said the special grand jury has gone beyond the criminal allegations of the sexual assaults. Jurors are asking about Facebook posts and “transgender” issues.

The jurors might have asked about former chief of staff and Title IX Coordinator Mark Smith, who quit after the investigation began. Loudoun Now reported that the school district now requires mandatory Title IX training for staff. Or jurors could have asked about an incident in which the school board chair called a parents’ rights group “alt-right” on her personal Twitter account.

The attorney general’s office said that the school board “is not immune from criminal investigation and prosecution.”

Photo credit: By Morgan Riley – Own work, CC BY 3.0, link

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