Former Fairfax County schools counselor charged with lying on sex offender list

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former counselor at a northern Virginia middle school has been charged with providing false information to the state’s sex offender registry.

Virginia State Police said they arrested Darren Thornton, 50, on Thursday in Richmond.

Thornton’s tenure as a counselor at Glasgow Middle School in Fairfax County has prompted multiple investigations.

He was arrested in November 2020 for solicitation of a minor in Chesterfield County as part of an online sting operation. He was convicted and ordered to register as a sex offender, but he remained employed as a school counselor until earlier this month.

Fairfax County Public Schools did not place him on leave until June of this year, when he was again charged in a second online sting by Chesterfield police.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and others criticized the school system after Chesterfield police in said they informed Fairfax County administrators about Thornton’s arrest back in 2020.

This week, though, police acknowledged the emails they sent to Fairfax County never went through because of typos in the email address.

In addition, Thornton’s profile on the sex offender registry described him as unemployed, even though he held a job with Fairfax County Public Schools. State Police said Thursday that Thornton provided false information and incomplete paperwork to state police on two separate occasions during his registration process.

Thornton was being held Thursday in the Richmond city jail. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

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