The juvenile court judge who earlier this month sentenced a Loudon County teenager after he was convicted of two separate sexual assaults at two high schools has reconsidered her ruling. She's decided not to require the boy to be placed on the adult sex offender registry when he turns 18.
WTOP-TV reports the 15-year-old who was found guilty of two counts of sodomy in a May 28 incident at Stone Bridge High School and a separate incident on Oct. 6 at Broad Run High School — will remain on supervised probation in a locked juvenile treatment facility until his 18th birthday.
As CBN News reported earlier this month, in addition to being ordered to attend, a locked, residential treatment facility until he becomes an adult, Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Pamela Brooks ordered the boy to be placed on the sex offender registry for life.
Brooks said she felt compelled to do so after reviewing psychosexual and psychological evaluations of the boy conducted after he was found guilty of the assaults.
"Yours scared me," she said of the reports. "I don't know how else to put it. They scared me for yourself. They scared me for your family. They scared me for society."
"Young man, you need a lot of help," the judge said.
The judge's decision to send the boy to a residential treatment facility rather than juvenile jail came after both victims and their families said they wanted the boy to get help. The judge called that gesture by the families "very brave and generous."
Before he was sentenced, the boy apologized to the girls and their families. He said he hadn't realized how he had hurt them until he heard their statements.
"I will never hurt anyone like this again," he said.
As CBN News reported, parents were angered after finding out the boy was involved in multiple assaults. After the first one occurred in a school bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in May 2021, the boy was allowed to shift over to nearby Broad Run High School while he awaited trial in juvenile court. The second assault then occurred in a Broad Run classroom in October 2021, long after school authorities knew about his previous crime.
Before the attack at Stone Bridge, the teenager who was 14 at the time, entered the girls' bathroom wearing a skirt, according to news reports. The case became embroiled in a debate over extending access to transgender students in schools.
The boy's sexuality or gender was not an issue at the sentencing hearing, the Associated Press reported.
Despite making claims to the contrary, Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler was previously informed about reports of a sexual assault on May 28 in a high school bathroom.
Ziegler sent out an email on May 28, at 4:09 p.m., informing the school board of "an incident that occurred" at Stone Bridge High School. In the message, he wrote, "This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom," according to a report from WTOP-TV, a local news station.
Then Ziegler told the public at a June 22 school board meeting there was no record of any sexual assaults in the bathroom. But his May 28th email reveals he and the board would have been aware of the incident during the summer meeting when parents raised serious concerns about allowing students to use whichever restrooms correlate with their perceived gender identities.
Several parents said such a policy would endanger children's safety. In response, school board member Beth Barts, who has since resigned, asked Ziegler if there were any sexual assaults occurring regularly in school bathrooms.
"The predator transgender student or person simply does not exist," the superintendent said at the time. "We don't have any record of assault occurring in our restrooms."
Ziegler later apologized for his "misleading" claim, telling reporters he thought the question was in reference to assaults specifically involving transgender-identities kids. However, reports indicate the boy involved in the May 28 assault wore a skirt to gain access to the girls' bathroom.
During his campaign for the governorship last fall, newly elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin called for an investigation of the school board's response to the assaults.
Just hours after being sworn into office, the Commonwealth's new Attorney General Jason Miyares announced on Jan. 15 that his office was opening an investigation into the school board's alleged coverup of the sexual assaults.
"Loudoun County Public Schools covered up a sexual assault on school grounds for political gain, leading to an additional assault of a young girl," he said in a statement. "Virginians will receive the answers they have desperately asked for."