Loudoun Co. sheriff’s colonel grilled about school sex assaults

The controversy swirling around a 15-year-old boy charged with sexually assaulting two girls at separate Loudoun County, Virginia, high schools was a heated topic at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

When Col. Mark J. Poland with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office went before the board to deliver a quarterly report on “significant incidents,” he was peppered with questions about the case.

Supervisor Matt Letourneau asked whether the school district was informed when the then-14-year-old boy was charged for the first assault. Prosecutors said the incident happened May 28 at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, and the teen was charged in July.

“They were notified … they were absolutely notified,” Poland said, echoing what Sheriff Michael Chapman told WTOP last week.

Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler told WTOP he was not notified.

A Loudoun County juvenile court judge last month ruled the boy sexually assaulted the girl in the Stone Bridge High School bathroom.

The boy is also charged with groping a different girl Oct. 6, at Broad Run High School.

Supervisor Juli Briskman asked why the sheriff’s office detailed the second assault in a daily incident report and a news release, but not the first. She said it would have been very helpful for parents to know about the incident and the arrest.

“It took us a month to determine the facts and what happened, so we had to be very careful with that,” said Poland. “The totality of the circumstances dictate whether or not we’ll release something.”

A follow-up question came from Vice Chairman Koran T. Saines: “So there’s certain incidents or activities that are going on that happen in the community, but for various reasons, the sheriff’s department sometimes chooses to release that information, and sometimes the sheriff’s department chooses not to release that information?”

“Yes,” Poland answered.

The boy involved is scheduled to be back before Judge Pamela Brooks 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 the Broad Run and Stone Bridge cases on that date.

The school assaults — and the recent case of a man accused of killing his wife with a hammer while awaiting trial for strangling her — prompted a strong reaction from Supervisor Michael Turner.

“Somebody has made a very, very bad mistake in Loudoun County. Whatever that entity is,” Turner said.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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