Loudoun County School Board’s Response to Sex Abuse Not News to Catholics

COMMENTARY: The Virginia board’s actions in dealing with an instance of sexual assault mirror the Catholic Church’s response in the not so distant past.

Protesters and activists hold signs as they stand outside a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021.
Protesters and activists hold signs as they stand outside a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021. (photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP/Getty)

Editor's Note: This story has been updated. 


The school board of Loudoun County, Virginia, shocked the world when its covering for a student rapist became public. Equally appalling was the school board’s treatment of the victim and her father. As someone who has spent the past three years deeply involved in addressing the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal and its equally scandalous cover-up in the Catholic Church, I have just one thing to say to the Loudoun County School Board: Wade right on in, gang. No one feels the slightest bit of sympathy for Catholic leaders who tolerated abuse. No one will feel sympathy for you. 

Let’s review the issues and compare the two cases: 

Catholic clergy have a history of adults sexually assaulting minors. 

Loudoun County Public Schools now have a history of students assaulting each other, with a growing list of alleged incidents.

A male student in a skirt raped a ninth-grade girl in the school restroom. The school board did nothing about it. 

The Catholic hierarchy has a history of covering up such crimes, seemingly believing that protecting the institution was more important than justice for the victims and protection for future potential victims. 

Now, Loudoun County has created the exact same reputation for itself. 

Scott Smith, the father of the victim, went to the school, thinking his daughter had been beaten up. He discovered that the crime against her was much more serious: sexual assault. He was told the school was “handling the incident in-house.” 

According to a substantial investigation by the Daily Wire, “Smith was dumbfounded. Deputies from the sheriff’s office ultimately responded to the school — not to investigate the alleged rape of a child, Smith said, but because school administrators called them on him for making a scene about it.” 

A few weeks later, the school board was debating a “transgender” policy that many parents objected to, including Smith. He was forcibly removed from the public meeting of the school board. The school board apparently placed a higher priority on passing that “transgender” policy than protecting female students from male students in skirts. 

The authorities in the Catholic Church sometimes move the clergy perpetrators to another parish. Those perpetrators frequently go on to abuse other children. 

The student predator who assaulted Smith’s daughter was moved to another school, where he allegedly assaulted another girl a few months later. 

Sometimes, Catholic authorities treat the victims and their families horribly. The victims’ reputations are sullied in the community. They are made to feel they have done something wrong. Victims sometimes feel they have been victimized a second time. 

The Loudoun County School Board and those who support it did exactly this to Smith. They sullied his reputation, casting him as a “domestic terrorist” in a video that went viral worldwide. Buta Biberaj, the county’s “progressive,” top elected prosecutor, who has close ties to the school board’s most liberal members, appeared in court personally to prosecute Smith for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Biberaj ran on a platform of ending “mass incarceration,” but she wanted to put Smith in jail for these misdemeanors. 

During the public debate on the transgender policy, the gaslighting by the school board was truly shocking. From the dais, school board member Beth Barts stated, “Our students do not need to be protected, and they are not in danger,” she said. “Do we have assaults in our bathrooms or locker rooms regularly?” Superintendent Scott Ziegler replied, “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.” 

The Daily Wire exposé showed that these school authorities knew they had exactly such an assault on record.

The public is fed up with the clergy sex abuse and coverup scandals. Loudoun County School Board, and other Sexual Revolutionaries: People are fed up with you. Covering up the rape of a minor (and moving the perpetrator to another school) so you could pass your precious transgender policy — that is despicable. 

People who fancy themselves “progressive” love to hate the Catholic Church for one reason and one reason only: The Church is the last institution on the face of the earth that — at least on paper — resists the Sexual Revolution. But the secular world certainly has sexual abuse problems of its own. 

This particular incident of covering up sexual abuse is not the only instance of problems in public schools: By one estimate, 10% of high school students will suffer some form of sexual abuse at school. “Passing the trash” takes place in public schools as well as in churches. The United Nations has sexual abuse scandals that they deal with only perfunctorily. There are serial predators in sports, Hollywood, media — even classical music. Memo to Sexual Revolutionaries: Crying crocodile tears over the victims of Catholic priests while covering for all the other victims is wearing thin. People are fed up. 

Sooner or later, the clear teaching of the Catholic Church is going to prevail over your tortured, incoherent ideology. In fact, the doctrine of the Church will triumph over the pathetic excuse of the practice of many in the Church. Let me spell out that doctrine for you, just to be crystal clear, since some self-identified Catholics are actively creating confusion:

· Have sex only with the person you are married to. Otherwise, keep your hands to yourself. 

· Get married and stay married, unless someone does something really awful. And even then, you can move out, but don’t marry again. This is not my rule. It’s Jesus’ rule. (After all, if the innocent spouse can marry again, so can the guilty spouse. The abusive difficult person can go on to abuse and be difficult to another family. What is the net gain in our serial polygamy system that goes under the name of “no-fault divorce?”) 

This social-sexual protects everyone more effectively than all the competing systems. It assures as well as can be done in this fallen world: 

· For every child, a mother and a father. 

· For every man, one and only one wife, for life. 

· For every woman, one and only one husband, for life. 

The traditional sexual teaching of the Catholic Church is the common heritage of the entire Judeo-Christian tradition. Observing the traditional sexual teaching of the Catholic Church would solve a lot of problems. And eventually, that teaching will prevail. 

Loudoun County School Board, you and your Ilk are on the wrong side of history.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Mississippi River are seen from East St. Louis, Illinois, on June 27. Following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on June 24, abortion is now banned in Missouri. The nearest clinics to St. Louis are across the river in Illinois, including a Planned Parenthood in Fairview Heights that was opened in 2019 in anticipation of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Welcome to Post-Roe America

Every year on the anniversary of Dobbs, Catholics will be able to deepen their understanding of God’s role in the conception of every child, his care for the child’s growth, his knowing each by name, and the future for which he has given each child life.