In case at center of political firestorm, judge finds teen committed sexual assault in Virginia school bathroom

Washington Post

In a case that has generated a political firestorm, a Virginia juvenile court judge found sufficient evidence during a trial Monday to sustain charges that a teen sexually assaulted a classmate in the girls’ bathroom of a Loudoun County high school in May. The teenager, now 15, is also charged with the sexual assault of another student that occurred months later at a different Loudoun school. Loudoun County juvenile court Chief Judge Pamela L. Brooks said she would wait to sentence the teen until that case is decided in November. The judge’s finding is the juvenile court equivalent of a guilty verdict in other courts. The case generated local and national attention after the parents of the girl assaulted in May said the charged youth was “gender fluid,” prompting renewed backlash against a policy in Loudoun County schools that allows transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. That policy was adopted after the May assault. Authorities have not commented on the youth’s gender identity and it did not become an issue Monday in court. During the hearing, the 15-year-old victim in the first case testified she had consensual sexual encounters with the defendant on two occasions in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn. On May 28, she said, the two arranged to meet again and the youth threw her to the floor and forced her to perform sex acts. The case also has sparked anger from parents who have questioned why the teen was allowed to attend another school while awaiting trial in the May assault. It has prompted the head of Loudoun County schools to embark on major reforms to the district’s disciplinary procedures to prevent a similar occurrence. It also has become an issue in the Virginia governor’s race, where in recent days Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has called for an investigation of the Loudoun County School Board and demanded more police in schools in response to the incidents.

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