A Loudoun County, Virginia, juvenile court judge has ruled a high school student sexually assaulted a schoolmate in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School, in Ashburn, in May.
The teenager, now 15, was later charged with sexual battery and abduction of another female student, on Oct. 6, at Broad Run High School.
During opening statements of the two-hour hearing in Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, prosecutor Barry Zweig said the two teens chatted daily on the Discord app, in the weeks leading up to the May 28, 2021, incident at Stone Bridge High School, in Ashburn.
The teens had “sexually charged conversations,” and had engaged in consensual sexual relations twice in weeks prior, in a bathroom at the school.
On May 28, the boy texted the girl and asked her to meet him in the girls bathroom, and she agreed. However, during that encounter, he forced himself on her, without her consent.
The girl reported the incident to school administrators, and was questioned by sheriff’s office investigators that day.
DNA evidence was gathered and processed before the boy was charged with one felony count of forcible sodomy and one felony count of forcible fellatio.
The young victim described her relationship with the boy as “just friends,” but said she “hooked up” with him, twice in the two weeks before the assault.
During cross-examination by defense attorney William Mann, the girl acknowledged she hadn’t told investigators initially about the consensual encounters.
From the witness stand, she was asked several times by Zweig, who was assisted by Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj, whether she gave permission or consent for the sexual act on May 28.
“Never,” she responded.
In closing arguments, Mann argued since the teens had had sex in the bathroom previously, it was reasonable for his client to believe that was the purpose of this rendezvous.
The judge quickly ruled otherwise.
“I found the facts sufficient to support the charges,” said JDR Chief Judge Pamela Brooks. The standard of proof in juvenile court, as in an adult conviction, is beyond a reasonable doubt.
The teen defendant is scheduled to be back before the judge on Nov. 15, for an adjudicatory hearing on the October incident at Broad Run High School. Brooks said she plans to announce the disposition for both cases on that date.
A disposition is the juvenile equivalent of an adult sentence. Since juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation, judges have wide leeway in considering treatment plans for the young offender.
Bill Stanley, an attorney for the girl’s family, released a statement, following Brooks’ ruling. WTOP is not reporting the family surname, to avoid indirectly identifying the juvenile sexual assault victim. WTOP is not naming the 15-year-old charged because of his age as well.
“We are greatly relieved that justice was served today,” said Stanley. “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 girl’s family has pledged to file a civil lawsuit against the school system, for failing to protect her by allowing the boy to transfer schools after being arrested. The family, and others are alleging the school system and school board engaged in a coverup.
The statement from the girl’s family says 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.”