A 15-year-old boy at the center of a controversy surrounding transgender school bathroom accommodations in Loudoun County, Virginia, was found guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting a girl in the girls’ bathroom in May — a decision sure to bring new attention to the hot-button topic.
“I found the facts sufficient to support the charges,” ruled Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Chief Judge Pamela Brooks after a two-hour hearing, according to WTOP-TV. The teen had been charged with one felony count of forcible sodomy and one felony count of forcible fellatio.
In court, the victim said the two were “just friends,” but that she had “hooked up with him” — engaged in sexual acts — two times in the weeks before the attack took place.
On May 28, the boy — then 14 — texted the victim, asking her to meet him in the girls’ bathroom. The Washington Post reported she told the court that when she got there, he threw her to the floor and forced himself upon her.
She would report the assault to the school and was questioned by investigators from the sheriff’s office the same day. However, the defense tried to argue the encounter was consensual and noted the girl hadn’t told investigators about her two previous encounters with the boy.
However, the victim maintained she “never” gave permission or consent for the May 28 encounter.
“He flipped me over,” the victim told the court, according to the Post. “I was on the ground and couldn’t move and he sexually assaulted me.”
The incident ignited a firestorm over transgender policy after the father of the girl who was assaulted, Scott Smith, was arrested at a June 22 Loudoun County School Board meeting after progressive activist called his daughter a liar, according to a report last month by the Daily Wire. Smith had said the boy in the case identified as “gender fluid” and was wearing a skirt at the time of the attack.
After a shouting match ensued, a deputy grabbed Smith’s shoulder. When Smith pulled away, a tussle began and the father was arrested. Loudoun County lead prosecutor Buta Biberaj — who also assisted the prosecutor in the sexual assault case involving Smith’s daughter — was seeking jail time for Smith over a disorderly conduct misdemeanor charge stemming from the meeting.
While that’s a controversy in its own right, the case became a flash point over new Virginia Department of Education transgender policies that require, among other things, that “Access to facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to a student’s gender identity shall be available to all students.”
“All students are entitled to have access to restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities that are sanitary, safe, and adequate, so that they can comfortably and fully engage in their school programs and activities. Schools frequently maintain separate restrooms, locker rooms or other facilities for males and females,” the policy reads.
“Students should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their consistently asserted gender identity. While some transgender students will want that access, others may want alternatives that afford more privacy. Taking into account existing school facilities, administrators should take steps to designate gender-inclusive or single-user restrooms commensurate with the size of the school.”
Loudoun County had adopted a similar policy, although it wasn’t in place at the time of the May 28 assault. A statement from the family, however, noted that the district had “formalized the policy regarding restroom use that was easily exploitable by a potential sexual assailant,” according to WUSA-TV.
While the Smiths say the perpetrator of the rape defined himself as gender-fluid, mainstream media accounts didn’t confirm this and referred to the defendant as male. However, the Post’s report confirmed the boy was wearing a skirt at the time of the assault.
“The defendant did not testify during the trial, but prosecutors played interviews he gave detectives investigating the case during which he acknowledged ‘messing up’ and said he did not intend to perform one sex act with the victim and said he stopped once he realized he was hurting the girl,” they reported.
“The defendant initially told detectives the second sexual act did not occur, but later said it may have happened briefly and accidentally when a knee-length skirt he was wearing got caught on his watch as the pair were fumbling around in the bathroom stall.”
The controversies don’t end there. The boy, now 15, is accused of allegedly assaulting a girl in a different school on Oct. 6, where he was being electronically monitored. A hearing to determine the boy’s guilt or innocence in that case is scheduled for Nov. 15, WTOP reported.
It later emerged the superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools had been notified of the first attack on the day it happened.
According to an Oct. 15 WTOP report, Scott Ziegler, the superintendent, said that while the school system “complied with our obligations” under Title IX regarding the sexual assault of students, he said the district’s processes were “insufficient.”
Bill Stanley, a Republican state senator and an attorney for the Smith family, hailed the court’s judgment in a statement.
“We are greatly relieved that justice was served today,” he said, according to WTOP. “No one should have to endure what this family has endured, and now their focus is completely upon their daughter’s health and safety as she progresses forward with her life.”
The family, which is suing the school district, said in a statement they “stand stronger than ever in moving forward to ensure that those responsible in the Loudoun County School system are held accountable, so that this may never happen again to anyone else’s child.”
And yet, so many facts about this case indicate it very well might. Neither the Virginia Department of Education nor Loudoun County Public Schools appear willing to take a second look at their transgender bathroom policies.
If another culturally and politically inconvenient attack, they’re likely to be just as loath to learn from it. Parents who vent their anger at school board meetings will arguably be treated with greater venom than Smith.
The verdict may bring justice. Wisdom, however, remains a long way off.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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