A Loudoun County Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Chief Judge on Monday found the evidence against a teenager accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student on May 28 in a Stone Bridge High School bathroom to be sufficient for a finding of guilt, according to Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj (D).
Chief Judge Pamela Brooks’ decision was first shared on Twitter by Asra Q. Nomani.
“I’m incredibly proud of my client today,” said Elizabeth Lancaster, the attorney representing the victim, in an email to the Times-Mirror. “Her testimony took bravery, and she showed great poise. The judge made the right decision.”
The teenaged defendant, who now awaits sentencing, will return to court for a second set of charges, which include allegedly sexually assaulting another Loudoun County student after being transferred to Broad Run High School following the May 28 incident.
A hearing for those charges is scheduled for Nov. 15, Biberaj said. Sentencing will follow after both cases are adjudicated.
Biberaj said based on evidence presented Monday the two teenagers mutually agreed to meet in the school’s bathroom as they previously did on two prior occasions. The commonwealth’s attorney confirmed the teens used Discord, a popular online messaging app, to communicate.
The victim testified that the defendant put her on the ground and subjected her to non-consensual sexual acts, a Tuesday press release from the attorney’s office reads.
The victim reported the incident to the school administration, which led to an investigation by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Biberaj said. The boy was not charged until July 8 when a DNA sample was collected and processed.
Biberaj said Judge Brooks found the evidence presented on Monday to be sufficient to sustain two charges of sexual assault.
She said as of Tuesday, the boy remains in detention.
“We are appreciative of the strength of the victim, her family, the witnesses, the investigator and our victim witness case managers and prosecution team, led by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Barry Zweig,” an Oct. 26 release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney states.
“We appreciate the community’s patience in allowing this matter to be adjudicated by the Juvenile Court judicial system,” the release reads. “We will continue to work with the victim and her family throughout the remainder of this process.”
Bill Stanley, founder of The Stanley Law Group of Virginia, representing the family of the Stone Bridge teen, released a statement shortly after the decision was announced in the Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
“We are relieved that justice was served today for the [family’s] daughter,” Stanley said in a release.
“This horrible incident has deeply affected the … family, and they are grateful for today’s outcome,” he said.He went on to describe the victim as smart, a survivor and a fighter, and that the family is focused on the victim’s health and safety moving forward.Further, Stanley said the family wishes to thank all of those in the community who have demonstrated their love and support over the past few months.
As previously reported, the family is pursuing civil lawsuit against Loudoun County Public Schools under provisions of Title IX, according to the Stanley Law Group.
The student accused of perpetrating the May 28 assault also faces charges stemming from an Oct. 6 sexual assault which allegedly took place at Broad Run High School while he was awaiting adjudication in the earlier charges.
Additionally, the firm will represent the family’s father, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest during a June 22 School Board meeting.
On Oct. 13, Loudoun County Public Schools responded to reports, first reported by the Daily Wire, of an alleged sexual assault at Ashburn’s Stone Bridge High School on May 28, which had not previously been made public.
LCPS said the sheriff’s office told the school division not to conduct an investigation until LCSO’s investigation had concluded.
The response by LCPS came less than a week after a 15-year-old male student at Broad Run High School — also in Ashburn — was arrested and charged with sexual battery and abduction of another student on Oct. 6, according to a Loudoun County Sheriff ’s Office incident report.
Biberaj confirmed to the Times-Mirror in an earlier story that the suspect in both the May 28 assault and the Oct. 6 assault is the same 15-year-old boy.
He was freed on a supervised release program and outfitted with an electronic monitoring devise on July 27, according to Biberaj.
In the Oct. 6 incident, the suspect — who was not identified because he is a juvenile — allegedly forced a female victim into an empty classroom at the school, where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her, the sheriff ’s office said.
The victim immediately notified a school resource officer, and as of Oct. 7, the suspect is being detained at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center, according to the sheriff ’s office.
Broad Run’s principal, David Spage, emailed a statement to the school’s community the following day acknowledging the Oct. 6 incident.
During a Oct. 15 press conference, Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler offered an apology to the families and students involved in the cases.
He also addressed how LCPS reports sexual harassment and assault in schools and said the school division has determined that Title IX laws directing how schools must investigate allegations are insufficient.
Stanley criticized Ziegler’s remarks and LCPS’ handling of the cases stating, “Superintendent Ziegler’s continued insistence that somehow the schools and the administration are not at fault for their conduct that led to the horrific sexual assault of the [family’s] daughter strains credulity.”