A Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney, known for her soft-on-crime approach to prosecuting, reportedly wanted to throw Scott Smith in jail for two misdemeanors after he was arrested at a June 22 Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) meeting.
Smith, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, was protesting anti-transgender bathroom policies in the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).
Last week, it was revealed that Smith’s daughter, a ninth grader at Stone Bridge High School, was allegedly raped by a boy in a skirt in the school’s bathroom. That incident allegedly occurred on May 28, weeks before the June 22 meeting.
But Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj wanted to throw the book at Smith, despite the fact that she campaigned on ending “mass incarceration,” and is accused by Republicans of being soft on violent offenders, specifically against domestic abusers.
Biberaj previously told The Virginia Star that “first offense cases often don’t end in neat convictions” and that she wanted to “allow people to remain in the community, at work, and with their families as much as possible.”
In fact, Stand Up Virginia, a right-leaning nonprofit, once pegged Biberaj as so lenient on violent offenders, that they attempted to recall her.
“Miss Buta Biberaj, you do not do your job, nor have you done your job since the year ago when you were elected,” SUV President Brenda Tillett said in a July press conference.
That stance appeared to change in the case of Smith, to the shock of his attorney Elizabeth Lancaster.
“The idea that they would actually be seeking jail time, I’d guess in my 15 years the number of times I’ve seen that happen would be zero,” Lancaster reportedly said. “The idea that this is a person who we need to put in a cage was astounding to me given the social justice reform she was pushing. I was blown away.”
Smith ultimately received a 10 day suspended jail sentence, and a year of probation.
Meanwhile, as the revelations about the alleged rape unfolded, Loudoun County parents called on Superintendent School Ziegler to resign, accusing him of covering up the rape allegations.
Despite the alleged crime happening weeks before Smith was arrested at the LCSB meeting, Ziegler, at that meeting, claimed “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist,” and that as far as he knew, “We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
In a statement, LCPS last week told The Star that it could not provide updates on the student who allegedly raped Smith’s daughter. It also appeared to justify Smith’s arrest:
Loudoun County Public Schools is aware of the media and social media reports concerning alleged sexual assaults at two of our high school campuses. While LCPS takes student privacy seriously and cannot reveal details concerning the actions of any specific student, we do want to clarify our investigative process. Principals are legally required to report to the local law enforcement agency any act, including sexual assault, that may constitute a felony offense under Va. Code § 22.1-279.3:1. That process was followed with respect to these allegations. Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was contacted within minutes of receiving the initial report on May 28. Once a matter has been reported to law enforcement, LCPS does not begin its investigation until law enforcement advises LCPS that it has completed the criminal investigation. To maintain the integrity of the criminal investigation, law enforcement requested that LCPS not interview students until their investigation is concluded. LCPS has cooperated and continues to cooperate with law enforcement.
Furthermore, LCPS is prohibited from disciplining any student without following the Title IX grievance process, which includes investigating complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. LCPS does impose interim measures to protect the safety of students involved in the original incident, deter retaliation, and preserve the integrity of the investigation and resolution process. LCPS has complied and continues to comply with its obligations under Title IX.
School Board members are typically not given details of disciplinary matters. The board may be obligated to consider long-term suspensions or expulsions and must ensure that students have not been deprived of due process. Consequently, members of the Loudoun County School Board were not aware of the specific details of this incident until it was reported in media outlets earlier this week. We are unable to locate any records that indicate that Scott Smith had registered in advance to speak at the June 22, 2021 board meeting
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Buta Biberaj” by Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.