Gov. Youngkin granted a full pardon on Friday to a Virginia father arrested for disorderly conduct at a 2021 school board meeting after his daughter was sexually assaulted in the girl’s bathroom by a male student in a skirt.
Scott Smith was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for a scuffle during a Loudon County School Board meeting just weeks after his 15-year-old daughter’s sexual assault.
“Scott Smith is a dedicated parent who’s faced unwarranted charges in his pursuit to protect his daughter,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Scott’s commitment to his child despite the immense obstacles is emblematic of the parental empowerment movement that started in Virginia.
“In Virginia, parents matter and my resolve to empower parents is unwavering. A parent’s fundamental right to be involved in their child’s education, upbringing, and care should never be undermined by bureaucracy, school divisions or the state. I am pleased to grant Scott Smith this pardon and help him and his family put this injustice behind them once and for all.”
Smith was convicted on both counts in August 2021 and was sentenced to 10 days in prison, according to Loudoun Now.
After appealing, the resisting arrest charges were dismissed due to an error in paperwork. The disorderly conduct appeal was set to go to trial in the coming months.
Smith expressed his gratitude to Youngkin for the pardon but vowed this fight wasn’t over for him or his family.
“What happened to my daughter was a horrible, but preventable tragedy that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life,” Smith said in a press release. “And the way the public school system, the School Board, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and SRO Department, and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office handled this situation was abhorrent and completely unacceptable.
“My family has been living a nightmare that no family in America should have to endure. But rather than sit quietly and take it, I decided to stand up against the government – and for that I was branded a ‘domestic terrorist’ and charged with crimes that I did not commit.
“And, let me be clear. I am not a ‘domestic terrorist,’ I am just a father who will go to the ends of the earth to protect his daughter. I will not ever give up in that endeavor until my family is both protected and fully vindicated.”
Smith announced his attention to pursue legal action against Loudoun County Public Schools for “putting its own interests above the safety of both my daughter the families and communities that it was supposed to serve.”
Monday, Smith explained on Fox News’ “America Reports” that his appeal wasn’t about disorderly conduct, but free speech.
“I wasn’t really fighting to clear my name from a disorderly conduct charge,” he said. “I mean, I’m a country boy. I’m disorderly sometimes, you know? What this was all about was my free speech.”
The district faced fierce backlash from parents for providing opportunity for the attack to happen through a policy allowing male students who identify as female to use the girl’s bathroom.
Despite the protests and national attention, Loudoun County’s current district policy has changed very little. It allows students to use a bathroom or locker room “that corresponds to their consistently asserted gender identity.”
District officials have also been accused of covering up Smith’s daughter’s sexual assault.
Scott Zieglar, the former Loudoun County superintendent, was eventually fired and is being prosecuted for mishandling the investigation into this and another sexual assault, as well as allegedly retaliating against an employee for testifying on the case. Zieglar awaits trial for three misdemeanor charges, according to local Fox 5.
In December, a special grand jury released a damning report on the school’s handling the ordeal, stating the district “failed at every juncture.”
In February, the school board voted to keep its own investigation of the incident hidden, citing student privacy concerns.
The male student accused of assaulting Smith’s daughter was transferred to a school nearby and accused of assaulting another female student shortly after. He was found guilty in both assaults and sentenced to supervised probation in a residential treatment facility until he’s 18, according to New York Post.