News, Culture & Society

Mom of Loudon County rape victim speaks out against district

The mother of the teenage girl who was raped by a boy in a skirt in a Virginia school bathroom says she and her husband were pressured to remain silent about the incident, and had no idea their daughter’s attacker had been allowed back in school until last month. 

‘We were silenced for many months,’ Jessica Smith told DailyMail.com, in her first interview since her daughter was sexually assaulted by a 15-year-old classmate at Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County in May. 

‘We were told not to say a word that could jeopardize our daughter’s case.’

The Virginia school district was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this year over accusations that it had covered up the attack.  

 The story exploded when her husband Scott Smith was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth after cops intervened when the furious dad confronted an audience member on June 22. 

After the teen was arrested in July, school officials quietly transferred him to another high school in the district, even keeping the victim’s parents in the dark. 

The first victim's parents were ridiculed by the left after her father Scott Smith was pictured being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22. They say they now feel vindicated

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Jessica Smith (pictured right with husband Scott) claimed they were pressured to stay silent on their daughter’s rape at a Virginia school bathroom earlier this year. The mom also revealed they had no idea the girl’s attacker had been allowed back in school until last month

Scott Smith, the father of the first female victim, was pictured with a bloody mouth, being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22 - a month after the attack - after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathrooms when that's what his daughter had reported the previous month

Scott Smith, the father of the first female victim, was pictured with a bloody mouth, being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22 – a month after the attack – after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathrooms when that’s what his daughter had reported the previous month

The boy, whose name is being withheld by DailyMail.com because he’s a minor, would be once again arrested in October for allegedly assaulting a second girl at Broad Run High School.  

‘When I learned there was a second victim, I was dumbfounded,’ Jessica told DailyMail.com in Leesburg, Virginia on Monday.

‘I didn’t believe it because I was under the impression that he was at home with an ankle monitor, not at school.’

‘We felt like this was our responsibility, what happened to this second victim,’ the mom added, her eyes tearing up as she requested a tissue. 

‘The pain that we had on May 28 came back. All the hurt, the anger, the frustration, everything came back.  I felt so horribly for the second victim and her family. This should have never happened. They shouldn’t have put him back in school.’

Jessica revealed she was meeting with lawyers after the interview to finalize a major lawsuit her family is planning to file this week against the school district. 

A GoFundMe campaign was also organized to help raise money for the parents’ court expenses.  

After months of keeping quiet, she said she and her husband, with the support of other parents and activists, will attempt to hold school officials responsible for failing to protect their daughter and other students from a boy who, it turns out, had a history of issues going back to elementary school.

‘That’s the problem, that we were silenced,’ she continued. ‘We were not allowed to go to rallies. We were not allowed to go to meetings with other groups. It didn’t matter what it was. Because we were under this microscope.’ 

‘This is not about politics,’ she added. ‘This is about sexual assault and how we need to make changes in our schools in order to protect victims, get them the help they need sooner, and believe them. And don’t allow a perpetrator back into another school.’    

The 15-year-old was formerly a student Stone Bridge High School where he was accused of raping a female classmate in the girl's bathroom in May

The 15-year-old was formerly a student Stone Bridge High School where he was accused of raping a female classmate in the girl’s bathroom in May  

A skirt-wearing teenage boy who was last month found guilty of raping a female classmate was later in May, pleaded no contest on Monday to sexually assaulting a second girl at Broad Run High School (pictured) in Ashburn, Loudoun County, Virginia, in October

A skirt-wearing teenage boy who was last month found guilty of raping a female classmate was later in May, pleaded no contest on Monday to sexually assaulting a second girl at Broad Run High School (pictured) in Ashburn, Loudoun County, Virginia, in October

Earlier on Monday, Jessica accompanied her daughter to a hearing in Loudoun County juvenile court where prosecutors revealed details of the second attack, during which the boy allegedly dragged another girl into a classroom and touched her breasts. 

The teen pleaded no contest to the charges, clearing the way for him to be sentenced next month for both crimes.

Jessica sat in the back row near her daughter, purposefully keeping her out of the teen’s line of sight. She wanted to prevent a repeat of last month’s hearing on the rape case, when the attacker stared back at his victim before he was found guilty.

‘I made sure that he could not see her because the last time he did turn around and view her, which I felt was extreme intimidation,’ Jessica explained.

She praised her daughter’s strength for even showing up Monday.

‘Our daughter did not have to be in court,’ the mother said, noting how the teen has struggled to cope with the rape, receiving therapy and medication.

‘She was there for the second victim to show support for her. Our daughter will stand tall, stay strong and get through this.’ 

The mom said that even after the rape took place, she had no idea the boy had prior incidents at the school. 

The victim's family blasted commonwealth attorney Buta Biberaj (pictured on Monday) who prosecuted the boy, for publicly defending his transfer to another school by falsely declaring he had no prior history of troubling behavior

The victim’s family blasted commonwealth attorney Buta Biberaj (pictured on Monday) who prosecuted the boy, for publicly defending his transfer to another school by falsely declaring he had no prior history of troubling behavior

The Loudoun County teenage student pleaded no contest Monday to sexually assaulting a classmate at Broad Run High School in October in a case that has generated a political firestorm locally and nationally

The Loudoun County teenage student pleaded no contest Monday to sexually assaulting a classmate at Broad Run High School in October in a case that has generated a political firestorm locally and nationally

She only learned of his troubled past when DailyMail.com earlier this month revealed that in fifth grade the boy had sent nude photos of himself to a female classmate, prompting an investigation but no arrest. 

The boy had also been repeatedly suspended for fist fights and other misbehavior.

‘There should have been more done to help, not a coverup,’ Jessica said of the fifth-grade incident and May assault. 

The rape took place on the Friday before Memorial Day.

The victim admitted she’d previously had sex with the boy in the bathroom and that they’d arranged to meet there again that afternoon. 

He followed her into a stall, where she told him she was not in the mood for sex, but he threw her on the floor and forced her to perform sex acts.

Last month, the boy’s mother, in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, defended his actions as that of a hormonal teen who had consensual sex with the girl twice before, and, ‘Just wanted to have sex in the bathroom, with someone that was willing.’

Jessica said she was upset by the mom’s remarks, but admitted: ‘I do not walk in her shoes. I don’t need to bash anybody.’

She said her daughter had never mentioned the boy before the rape, and that it did not matter whether or not they had sex prior to the incident.

The case became the searing tip of a raging debate in Loudoun County over transgender students' rights and parents' freedom of speech

The case became the searing tip of a raging debate in Loudoun County over transgender students’ rights and parents’ freedom of speech

‘Just because you know somebody doesn’t mean that every time it’s going to happen,’ she said. ‘She said no. No means no, plain and simple.’

The case is one that hits close to home to Jessica who revealed to DailyMail.com that she too had been a victim of a sexual assault, stating: ‘I’m a survivor myself.’

‘It was hard, it is hard,’ she said, ‘but we are fighters. We’re survivors and we will get through this.’

‘It’s just sad, it’s really sad. This should have not happened, at all.’

Jessica also found the issue of the boy’s attire a side show. The skirt became a focal point of coverage after her husband labeled the boy ‘gender fluid’ and challenged transgender bathroom policies that let students select bathrooms based on their gender identity.

From rape to sentencing: Timeline of teen boy in skirt  

May 28: Teen, 15, wearing a skirt allegedly rapes female classmate in girl’s bathroom. She reports it to the principal. Superintendent Scott Ziegler sends an email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported

June 22: Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth and arrested after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape

July 6: Detectives call the boy’s mother to report his imminent arrest. She drives him down to the station herself and he spends the next couple weeks at the juvenile detention center in nearby Leesburg

October 6: The 15-year-old changes schools and allegedly drags another a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touches her. Police are called and he is arrested the same day

October 25: Teen is found guilty for the May 28 sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School. The judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction 

October 26: Students stage a walkout of their classrooms in a show of ‘solidarity’ for the victim. Some stood in front of their school, chanting: ‘Loudoun County Protects Rapists!’ 

November 15: Skirt-wearing teen pleads no content to sexual assault of a fellow student

December 13 : Sentencing scheduled for both cases

She said she opposes the policy, but believes schools should accommodate transgender students, possibly by creating a third bathroom classification.

‘I found it odd that a boy was wearing a skirt,’ she said. ‘But it wasn’t relevant. The relevance is that there was a boy in the girl’s bathroom who attacked my daughter. There was no relevance to what he was wearing. That’s not what we’re here for.’

‘All our kids need to be safe at school,’ she said. ‘And this is not happening right now.’

She said parents in her community have been harshly criticized for speaking out.

She blasted commonwealth attorney Buta Biberaj, who prosecuted the boy, for publicly defending his transfer to another school by falsely declaring he had no prior history of such behavior.

Jessica noted the National School Boards Administration, in September, went so far as to label her husband and other parents who voice opposition at school board meetings ‘domestic terrorists.’

‘Scott is far from being a domestic terrorist,’ she said. ‘He is the papa bear. And all he wants is what’s best for our community.’

On June 22, Scott was dragged out of a school board meeting where officials justified the district’s transgender bathroom policies and denied there had been any incidents in girls’ bathrooms.

Jessica was at the meeting with her husband and their daughter. She said Scott got into an argument with a female activist who was harassing him and expressed doubts that his daughter had been raped.

‘My husband said our child was sexually assaulted in the bathroom and the woman said that did not happen,’ Jessica recalled. ‘I believe that’s when he called her a something. He responded verbally, then the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office took him down to the ground unlawfully.

‘I could not believe that they were taking down my husband, the father of a rape victim,’ Jessica continued.

She went on to accuse district officials of continually lying about the rape case. Hours after the attack, the superintendent emailed school board members to acknowledge the incident, just as the girl was being taken to the hospital to undergo a rape kit, the mom said.

‘Then fast forward, the superintendent told the public he knew nothing about it,’ she said. ‘They lied. That’s all they do is lie, lie to us about what is going on in our school, blatantly lied that nothing ever happened. They all knew.’

The saga garnered worldwide attention as details were leaked. Irate parents accused the district of a coverup, questioning how a teen with a pending rape case was allowed to stay in the district to commit another sex crime.

Amanda Shallant (pictured) spoke during a school board meeting last month as she held a sign that read: 'LCPS protects rapists'

Amanda Shallant (pictured) spoke during a school board meeting last month as she held a sign that read: ‘LCPS protects rapists’

But Jessica kept out of the fray.

‘It’s been very hard for our family as we see the news play over and over and over again,’ she said. ‘It was very devastating to be reminded every day that May 28 occurred.’

But now that there is attention, her family is hoping to harness it for reform. That’s what the lawsuit is about, she said.

‘People were trying to point to us as being political. But this is not political.

‘This is about sexual assault and victims’ rights and keeping our kids safe at school. So hopefully now, we’ll be able to express ourselves more.’ 

‘All we want is change,’ she said. ‘We want all our kids to be safe in school. This is what we’re standing for. We’re standing for everyone’s kid at school. No matter what you are, every child at school needs to be safe and that’s our plan.’

Meanwhile, she plans to attend the boys’ sentencing in court on December 13.

‘This boy needs rehabilitation, he needs therapy, he needs whatever the commonwealth can provide him to understand what he did was wrong, and to learn from that,’ she said. ‘That takes time. So I hope they give him enough time to rehabilitate himself in order to one day be a successful community member.’

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk