A final report on the grand jury investigation into the Loudoun County Public School district’s handling of two sexual assaults on campuses says senior LCPS administration “were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS,” kept school board (LCSB) members in the dark about critical facts, and also described breakdowns in communication between LCPS, the Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), and the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office that contributed to a failure to prevent the second assault.
“There were several decision points for senior LCPS administrators, up to and including the superintendent, to be transparent and step in and alter the sequence of events leading up to the October 6, 2021 BRHS [Broad Run High School] sexual assault. They failed at every juncture,” the report states. “We concluded there was not a coordinated cover-up between LCPS administrators and members of the LCSB. Indeed, except for the May, 28, 2021 email from the superintendent, the LCSB, both as a body and its individual members, were deliberately deprived of information regarding these incidents until after the October 6, 2021 sexual assault — and even then they learned not from the superintendent’s office but instead from public reporting that the assailant was the same one from the May 28 incident.”
The report details the chronology of the assaults, including a teacher’s assistant’s warning to her bosses about the student’s behavior 16 days before he committed the first assault. After the assault on May 28, then-Superintendent Eric Williams sent an email to the LCSB telling them about the assault, but at a June LCSB meeting, the superintendent told the board, “[…] to my knowledge we don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
“We believe this statement was a lie,” the grand jury report states.
In June, Scott Ziegler became superintendent after Williams’ departure, which had been planned since 2020.
According to the report, the assailant was arrested for the May 28 assault at the beginning of July was released at the end of the month and was transferred to BRHS.
In September, both the school’s principal and senior district administration were notified of an incident where the student made inappropriate sexual comments to a female student and grabbed her shoulder. The BRHS principal, district administration, Commonwealth’s attorney’s office, and the student’s probation officer were notified of the incident, with the Sheriff’s Office learning of the incident a week later.
“Not a single person with knowledge of the student’s history or of this current action stepped in to do anything. Instead, discipline was left to the BRHS principal, who did nothing more than issue him a verbal reprimand,” the report states.
After the October 6 assault, the student was arrested and has remained in custody since then. An LCPS email to the board notified them of the assault, but didn’t tell the LCSB that the assailant was the one who committed the May assault. Two days later, Daily Wire reporter Luke Rosiak emailed the school’s public information officer (PIO) saying he was planning to report that the assailant was the same in both assaults. The PIO notified the administration, but not the school board, and school board members told the grand jury that they first learned of the connection from the press, not LCPS administration.
Amid public fallout, the school board commissioned an independent review, but were only given half an hour to review the report, which was never published publicly.
“Few, if any senior LCPS officials had any interest in what the independent review concluded,” the grand jury report said.
“We attribute this lack of curiosity and attachment to staying in their silos to a culture of fear permeating LCPS — a culture where anybody speaking up or daring to step out of place faces some type of reprimand,” the report states.
Governor Glenn Youngkin was elected in November 2021, and after he took office, one of his first actions was to order Attorney General Jason Miyares “to initiate and coordinate investigative and prosecutorial efforts and to take such actions as he may deem appropriate in order to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth and hold accountable any individuals who have violated existing law or violated the rights of victims of crime.”
Miyares announced the grand jury in April. The report says LCSB and LCPS officials had the same legal counsel, which was uncooperative with the investigation. The report includes eight recommendations focused on increased transparency, fixing the district’s transfer process, more involvement from the LCPS director of safety, and better monitoring of school-issued technology. Additionally, the school board should limit how much information is hidden through attorney-client privilege. The report calls for better communication and cooperation across agencies, better support for faculty and staff who are concerned about potentially dangerous issues, and that school board decisions to not re-hire teachers should be on the normal agenda.