Education 

Former Loudoun County superintendent, school official, indicted by grand jury over handling of sexual assaults

Indictments against two Loudoun County Public Schools officials, related to the handling of sexual assaults were unsealed Monday, less than a week after former Superintendent Scott Ziegler was fired from his post over the scandal. 

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares office revealed on Monday that three misdemeanor charges were filed against Ziegler, and one indictment was filed against school spokesman Wayde Byard for felony perjury. 

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The jury charged Ziegler with one count of misdemeanor false publication, one count of misdemeanor prohibited conduct and one count of misdemeanor penalizing an employee for a court appearance. 

Parents and educators sparred over transgender student policy 8040 at the Loudoun County Public Schools Board meeting, October 11.

Parents and educators sparred over transgender student policy 8040 at the Loudoun County Public Schools Board meeting, October 11.
(Fox News Digital)

Two of the misdemeanor counts pertain to Ziegler’s actions against former LCPS special education teacher Erin Brooks. According to the indictments, Ziegler “did unlawfully use his public position to retaliate or threaten to retaliate against Erin Brooks,” and also “did unlawfully discharge from employment, or take adverse personnel action against Erin Brooks.”  

The Attorney General’s office told Fox News Digital they could not comment on pending litigation.

Teacher Laurie Vandermeulen speaks at a Loudoun County School Board Meeting in Ashburn, Va.

Teacher Laurie Vandermeulen speaks at a Loudoun County School Board Meeting in Ashburn, Va.
(Fox News screenshot/Ian Prior Twitter)

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The bombshell grand jury report, released last Monday, found the district displayed a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability, both to the public and to the special grand jury” following two sexual assaults on campus. The report also condemned Superintendent Scott Ziegler for denying any knowledge of the first assault at a school board meeting.

As a result of that report, the school board fired Superintendent Scott Ziegler at its next meeting.

The school district previously expressed relief that the jury had found no evidence of criminal conduct or filed any indictments against any employees as of last week.

“In spite of the recent allegations leveled against Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) members and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) employees over the past several months, we are pleased that the Special Grand Jury’s extensive investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct on the part of anyone within LCPS, and not a single indictment was filed as a result of this lengthy process,” School Board Chair Jeff Morse and School Board Vice Chair Ian Serotkin wrote in a statement to Fox News Digital last Monday.

Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 22, 2021. 

Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 22, 2021. 
(Reuters)

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Ian Prior, executive director of Parental rights group Fight for Schools applauded the news Monday.

“We are beyond pleased that the families who were harmed by the egregious failures of the leadership of Loudoun County Public Schools, exacerbated by its repeated acts of deceit and dishonesty, will receive some measure of justice,” Prior said.

He continued, “We also must recognize the parents in Loudoun County who have stood up for years highlighting the arrogance, incompetence, and gross neglect of those leaders. Those parents repeatedly took slings and arrows from the media, local elected officials, and others in their own community, for speaking truth to power – despite that, they never backed down.”

“Loudoun County should serve as a beacon of hope for the rest of the country. Citizens can band together and make a difference in the name of truth, justice, and accountability from their government,” he concluded.

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“Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is aware of the indictments that the Special Grand Jury issued that were unsealed today. As a result, Mr. Wayde Byard, Public Information Officer, was placed on leave today in accordance with LCPS Policy and Virginia State Code,” the district said in a statement. 

“While LCPS will await any additional updates from the Special Grand Jury, LCPS plans to address the recommendations of the Special Grand Jury in the School Board’s December 13, 2022 work session. The Board will consider policy-related and process improvements to implement to further ensure the safety and care of all LCPS staff and students and restore trust within our community.” 

Scott Ziegler and Wayde Byard did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

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