Virginia Loudoun County schools supervisor indicted over handling of in-school sexual assaults

In the final report, the grand jury issued a scathing rebuke of the administration's handling of the matter.

Published: December 12, 2022 2:48pm

Updated: December 12, 2022 3:58pm

A grand jury unveiled indictments against former Loudoun County Supervisor Scott Ziegler on Monday following the publication of its report strongly condemning officials' handling of multiple in-school sexual assaults.

On the first day of Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's official tenure, he directed Attorney General Jason Miyares to conduct an investigation into Loudoun County Public Schools. The district had challenged that investigation in court, but it ultimately proceeded. The findings of the grand jury became public earlier this month and indicated that the school administrators had "failed at every juncture" when dealing with the issue. Ziegler was fired the following day.

The county has been mired in scandal following an incident in which a student accused of sexual assault was allowed to transfer to another school and committed a second assault.

The grand jury unveiled three misdemeanor charges against Ziegler this week, including one count each of false publication, prohibited conduct, and penalizing an employee for a court appearance, Loudoun Now reported.

The false publication and penalizing an employee charges are Class 3 misdemeanors and come with possible fines of up to $500 while the prohibited conduct charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The grand jury also issued an indictment against LCPS's public information officer, Wayde Byard, who faces one count of felony perjury which comes with a maximum of 12-months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500, if convicted.

In the final report, the grand jury issued a scathing rebuke of the administration's handling of the matter, but concluded that "there was not a coordinated cover-up" attempt. It further asserted that the schools could have prevented a second sexual assault with proper safeguards but contended that poor leadership undermined any such effort.

"LCPS as an organization tends to avoid managing difficult situations by not addressing them fully. Whether intended or not, this practice conveys to the public a sense of apathy," the grand jury members wrote. "This has not served them or our community well, and the culture needs to change."

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