A judge has ruled a Loudoun County, Virginia, teen is responsible for abduction and sexual battery in the assault of a girl pulled into an empty high school classroom and groped last month.
The 15-year-old boy had entered a “no contest” plea in the Oct. 6 assault at Broad Run High School — the second assault in a county high school the teen has been found responsible for since May.
In a no-contest plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but doesn’t dispute the facts of the charge, which typically has the same effect as pleading guilty.
The same judge also found the same teen responsible for sexually assaulting another girl in a restroom at Stone Bridge High School in May.
The multiple assaults are the subject of controversy over what information school officials and the sheriff’s office released to the public.
At the hearing Monday in Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Barry Zweig detailed what would have been proven if the case had gone to trial.
On Oct. 6, as the two classmates at Broad Run were walking to class about 12:36 p.m., the female student said the bell rang and she told the teen, “You’re going to be late.” She said the male student waited for two other students in the hallway to walk by, then pushed her into an empty room. The teen “wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into the empty room next to his classroom,” Zweig said.
“He put his arm around her neck and put a hand over her mouth. He did not strangle her; he did not apply pressure to her neck,” Zweig said.
The beginning of the incident in the hallway was captured by a security camera — but what happened inside the classroom was not.
The two teens sat on desks in the classroom talking, Zweig said. The male teen was apparently upset that she joked he was going to be late.
Then he put his hand down the back and the front of her shirt and groped her, Zweig said. After about 10 minutes, they left the room together.
Zweig said the girl texted a friend, went to the office and reported the incident to the school resource officer, who notified the sheriff’s office.
The same detective who handled the assault at Stone Bridge High School interviewed the teen and the girl in the Broad Run assault.
The detective said the teen acknowledged pulling the girl into the empty room and touching her over her shirt, but denied touching her inside her shirt.
Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Pamela Brooks accepted the plea for abduction, which is a felony, and sexual battery, which is a misdemeanor.
She will announce the disposition for both the Stone Bridge and Broad Run assaults on Dec. 13. A disposition is the juvenile equivalent of an adult sentence.
The teen’s defense attorney, William Mann, made no arguments to have his client released from custody before then.
Neither Mann nor the commonwealth’s attorney’s office have said what disposition they will ask for. Because juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation, judges have wide latitude in considering treatment plans.
The teenager and his mother signed the paperwork, declaring his intent to enter a plea. He appeared in court wearing a T-shirt and ankle chains, and will remain in custody until his next hearing.