by Joseph Weber
One of the northern Virginia public school officials indicted last month in connection with how his school district handled two high-profile, 2021 sexual assaults in schools is facing a felony perjury charge in the case, his attorney said Thursday.
The official, Wayde Byard, a Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman, was indicted by a Virginia special state grand jury following an investigation into how the school system handled the assaults.
The comments by his attorney, Jennifer Leffler, to The Washington Post, are among the first details about the allegations in the high-profile case about two 2021 sexual assaults by a student.
She spoke after a hearing in which a county judge set a June 20 jury trial for her client.
Leffler said Byard, who is on administrative leave, will plead not guilty.
Virginia Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares convened the special grand jury on the matter.
He was authorized by Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin to conduct a criminal probe on the matter after a Loudoun high school student sexually assaulted a classmate in a bathroom in May 2021, before the teen was transferred to another county high school, at which he sexually assaulted a classmate five months later in an empty classroom, the newspaper also reports.
The teen was convicted in both cases. Before issuing the indictments, the special grand jury released a 90-plus page report that found the district badly mishandled the sexual assaults, also according the newspaper.
The incidents occurred during the height of the pandemic, and the school district’s transparency about them upset parents who made their frustrations known at school board meetings already contentious over COVID-19 mandates in schools.
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