On the heels of a statewide election in Virginia that brought parental dissatisfaction with public education into the limelight comes news that the Commonwealth’s newly-chosen Republican attorney general intends to launch a probe of sexual assaults in Loudoun County Public Schools, according to the Washington Examiner.
During a Thursday press conference, Jason Miyares was asked by a reporter whether he will initiate an investigation of such incidents, which reportedly occurred on Loudoun school campuses and brought national attention to the district over an alleged cover-up by the district’s superintendent, and in response, he replied succinctly, “Yes.”
The new AG subsequently expanded on the motivation behind his pledge, adding, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, “We’re obviously aware of some pretty horrific cases…if there’s anything that I want to bring back to the forefront in this process are the victims.”
Miyares continued, “As a former prosecutor, those are the individuals that you remember – the victims. I don’t remember the defendants much and so that’s been a little bit of my frustration that I’ve seen as I think the victims have been forgotten. And when prosecutors are making plea deals on child rape cases, over the objection of the family, I have a serious problem with that.”
To the last point, Miyares also indicated that he and Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin will be exploring the possibility of changing state law to afford the AG the power to intervene if local officials express concern about the job being done by the commonwealth’s prosecuting attorney.
“We’re going to be seeking a legislative change,” Miyares said, adding that Youngkin has already expressed interest in signing a bill that “would essentially say if the chief law enforcement officer in a jurisdiction, either the chief of police or the sheriff,, makes a request because the commonwealth’s attorney is not doing their job, then I’m going to do their job for them.”
In response to Miyares’ remarks, liberal Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj (D), who has received criticism over her handling of the school assault cases and her subsequent attempt to jail the father one of the victims for protesting at a school board meeting, remained unmoved.
“I am confident that any investigation will show that our office handled those matters appropriately and that the only limitations that will be identified will be in how information was given to us,” said Biberaj, adding, “If the attorney general-elect wishes to sit down and discuss how I represent my community, I welcome him to call me any day.”
Considering that the young perpetrator of the first school sex assault was ultimately found guilty, but not before allegedly committing a second assault a the Loudoun County school to which he was moved, it appears that Miyares is more than justified in examining exactly what went wrong and, hopefully, holding responsible parties accountable.