More cover-up: Loudoun officials defied state reporting law on sexual assaults

Yesterday, Luke Rosiak told me on the Hugh Hewitt show that he had a new story ready to drop in the Loudoun County Public Schools scandal. Late yesterday, it dropped — like a bomb on the reputation for the LCPS board and its superintendent. The Daily Wire dug up more sexual assaults that LCPS failed to report to the state and make public, as state law requires, raising the question of how long and how extensive the LCPS cover-up of sexual assaults on its campuses has gone.

And now the state of Virginia has opened an investigation to find those answers:

Loudoun County Public Schools did not record multiple known incidents of alleged sexual assault in schools dating back several years, despite a law that requires statistics about school safety incidents to be reported to the public and which includes provisions holding school superintendents personally liable for violations, a Daily Wire review of public records found.

After The Daily Wire raised the discrepancy with the Virginia Department of Education, DOE spokesman Charles Pyle said that “VDOE is reviewing the discipline, crime and violence data submissions of Loudoun County Public Schools and is in communication with LCPS to determine whether the division’s reporting is accurate and whether the division is in compliance with state and federal law.”

The same law could have implications for a Loudoun superintendent or principal in the wake of a May 28 alleged sexual assault in a bathroom — an incident first reported by The Daily Wire Monday. On June 22, Superintendent Scott Ziegler told the public, “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”

Virginia law requires that “Reports shall be made to the division superintendent and to the principal or his designee on all incidents involving … sexual assault.”

Rosiak and TDW waited two days on this story to give LCPS a chance to answer why none of the known sexual assaults appeared in the state database. The law requires such reporting, and the database exists to make parents aware of potential security and safety issues. LCPS had previously claimed that state law required such reports to be kept secret, which turned out to be a lie.

And in case you’re wondering what LCPS did with those two days …

LCPS provided no response at all to The Daily Wire’s question about the reason for the “zero” figures despite having two days to do so.

The statute requires superintendents to report all covered incidents (including sexual assaults) at the end of each school year — not just for convictions, but also for arrests:

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 12 (§ 16.1-299 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1, local law-enforcement authorities shall report, and the principal or his designee and the division superintendent shall receive such reports, on offenses, wherever committed, by students enrolled at the school if the offense would be a felony if committed by an adult or would be a violation of the Drug Control Act (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.) and occurred on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity, or would be an adult misdemeanor involving any incidents described in clauses (i) through (viii) of subsection A, and whether the student is released to the custody of his parent or, if 18 years of age or more, is released on bond. …

C. The principal or his designee shall submit a report of all incidents required to be reported pursuant to this section to the superintendent of the school division. The division superintendent shall annually report all such incidents to the Department of Education for the purpose of recording the frequency of such incidents on forms that shall be provided by the Department and shall make such information available to the public.

In submitting reports of such incidents, principals and division superintendents shall accurately indicate any offenses, arrests, or charges as recorded by law-enforcement authorities and required to be reported by such authorities pursuant to subsection B.

Rape clearly is a felony, both for juveniles and for adults, so the two incidents from the previous school year should have been reported to the VDOE. And by the way, this arguably also qualifies as rape:

For failing to report these incidents — and God knows how many others — Scott Ziegler could be out of a job, and/or digging for his checkbook:

The law says that “A division superintendent who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the sanctions authorized in § 22.1-65. A principal who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this section shall be subject to sanctions prescribed by the local school board, which may include, but need not be limited to, demotion or dismissal.”

The statute cited here would require the school board to take action against Ziegler, which might seem unlikely. It also allows the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction to remove Ziegler, however. At present, Dr. James Lane currently serves in that office, and that means this mess will likely land in his lap — maaaayyybeee. That would require the rest of the media to actually cover this story and do some of the digging that Rosiak and TDW have done, or at the very least acknowledge that work.

Unfortunately, most of the media is covering this like Newsweek did yesterday … with a blanket in an attempt to smother the story:

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said they want to address the “misinformation” regarding an alleged attack at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn on May 28 following recent media reports.

Scott Smith, whose daughter was the alleged victim in the May 28 attack, claimed in an interview with The Daily Caller that she was attacked in the girl’s bathroom by a student he described as a boy who wears a skirt.

“Misinformation,” eh? “Claimed”? By the time this appeared at around 10 am yesterday, the police and LCPS had already confirmed that two sexual assaults had gone unreported by LCPS as required by law. Had Newsweek bothered to do even a cursory review of Rosiak’s work — which goes entirely unnoted in Newsweek’s report — they would have realized that the story had gone beyond the denials at LCPS. Had they exercised some reporting skills, they might have even checked to see whether LCPS was lying about keeping such reports secret (as they claimed the law requires) and beating Rosiak to the punch.

At least this exercise in dictation “journalism” keeps Newsweek firmly aligned with its ideological allies. Too bad it misses a big cover-up that allows victims to not just be ignored but trashed in favor of those ideological goals. To update a line from the classic western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “When the narrative contradicts the facts …  print the narrative.”