Court okays grand jury probe in school sex assaults

Law Review

An attempt by the Loudoun County School Board to shut down a grand jury investigating the school system’s handling of two sexual assaults was rejected Friday by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The high court upheld a ruling in July by a circuit court judge who denied the school board’s request for an injunction to stop the grand jury from proceeding.

The board argued that a special grand jury empaneled by Attorney General Jason Miyares is politically motivated and violates the mandate in the Virginia constitution giving local school boards authority over educational affairs.

Miyares maintains that the grand jury is needed to uncover why the school system allowed a boy who had been accused of sexually assaulting a girl in one high school to transfer to another high school, where he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second girl. Miyares empaneled the grand jury after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, on his first day in office, issued an executive order requesting an investigation by the attorney general’s office.

Youngkin and Miyares, both Republicans, had criticized the school board during their successful 2021 campaigns. They said the board was not transparent in how it handled the case as it revised its guidelines over policies governing transgender students. The assaults attracted national attention in part because the boy was wearing a skirt when he committed at least one of the attacks. The boy was later convicted in juvenile court.

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