Firm hired to review Loudoun County schools’ handling of sexual assault

Loudoun County, Virginia, public schools have hired a firm to conduct an independent review of how allegations of sexual assault were handled at two high schools.

School officials say they believe they followed the proper procedures to report allegations of sexual assault that happened at Stone Bridge and Broad Run high schools. Despite that, they hired Blankingship & Keith PC last month to conduct a review of what happened.

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the review is one of the steps to move forward to help “heal our school community.

“We believe we have followed all mandatory reporting protocols and aided law enforcement to the fullest extent allowed in all investigations regarding these matters. We acknowledge that these matters need to be fully reviewed,” Ziegler said in an email to the school community.

Last month, a 15-year-old student was charged with sexual battery and abduction in an incident that happened at Broad Run High School. That same teenager was on electronic monitoring after being charged with sexually assaulting a young girl at Stone Bridge High School in May.

After what happened at Broad Run High School, Ziegler sent an apology to the families and students involved and acknowledged that “we failed to provide the safe, welcoming and affirming environment that we aspire to provide.”

Parents and residents, who have been critical of how the school system handled the incidents, have called on the school board and Ziegler to resign, with some accusing them of covering up what happened.

On the day of the May incident, Ziegler alerted the board that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was investigating what happened. Ziegler said he has never, during his three years with LCPS, been notified by the county sheriff’s office that a juvenile has been charged with a crime.

Earlier this week, a school counselor was charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a student from 2013 through 2016, while she was working at Freedom High School, in South Riding.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and Rick Massimo contributed to this report. 

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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