Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Sunday that he has granted a pardon to a father who was prosecuted and convicted for protesting a Loudon County high school’s handling of his 15-year-old daughter’s sexual assault.
The father, plumber Scott Smith, was arrested and charged with Obstruction of Justice and Disorderly Conduct at a rowdy June 2021 Loudon County School Board meeting after a verbal altercation with a woman who said she didn’t believe his daughter was raped.
At the school board meeting, Superintendent Scott Ziegler — who has since been fired — defended the school’s transgender bathroom policy when confronted, claiming that he did not have “any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
Ziegler also said that “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.”
This was despite Ziegler having received an email regarding the sexual assault of Smith’s daughter the same day as the incident, in which he also requested additional law enforcement units “to assist with the parent [Scott Smith]” who allegedly caused a disruption using threatening and profane language overheard by staff and students in response to the incident.
“His daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom of a school, and no one was doing anything about it,” Youngkin said on Fox News Sunday.
Smith was convicted of both charges in 2021 after a separate conviction of resisting arrest was thrown out. He received a suspended sentence of 10 days in Jail.
The assault occurred on May 28, 2021, when a 14-year-old “gender fluid” male student allegedly wearing a skirt entered the women’s restroom at Stone Bridge High School and assaulted Smith’s ninth-grade daughter.
A second assault by the same male student was reported in October the same year.
Smith’s attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster, told the Daily Wire that the boy had been “charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio, related to an incident that day at that school.”
“Scott Smith is a dedicated parent who’s faced unwarranted charges in his pursuit to protect his daughter. Scott’s commitment to his child despite the immense obstacles is emblematic of the parental empowerment movement that started in Virginia,” Gov. Youngkin said in a Sunday press release.
“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,” Youngkin said. “I am pleased to grant Scott Smith this pardon and help him and his family put this injustice behind them once and for all.”
Prior to Youngkin’s pardon, Smith was set to appeal his disorderly conduct conviction later this month.
“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 statement following the pardon. “And the way the public school system, the School Board, the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office SRO Department & 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,” Smith said. “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.”
“I want to thank Governor Youngkin for his declaration that I am innocent, and for his absolute and unconditional pardon,” he said.
“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,” he added. “I will not ever give up in that endeavor until my family is both protected and fully vindicated.”
Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj released the following statement following the pardon:
“This political stunt by Governor Youngkin is an unprecedented and inappropriate intervention into an active legal case,” Biberaj said. “He chose to interfere in the legal process but not for justice but for political gain. If the Governor truly believed that the evidence would show that the Republican sheriff lied about the facts and wrongfully arrested Smith, that the Magistrate wrongfully issued the arrest warrants, and that the Republican Special Prosecutor was wrongfully prosecuting him, Youngkin would have permitted the case to go to trial and let the truth be told. That is the system in America. The justice system does not work when a Governor becomes the judge and jury.
“With early voting less than two weeks away, the Governor’s decision to issue the pardon is an intentional attempt to influence the elections. I will proudly stand with law enforcement to ensure that they protect our citizens, that they are safe on the job, and that anyone who harms our law enforcement is held accountable. I will also continue to stand with victims of sexual assault to ensure cases are fully prosecuted, which is why my office tripled the number of prosecutors dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault cases. It is deeply disappointing that Governor Youngkin continues to play politics and try to divide Loudoun County.”
Read Gov. Youngkin’s pardon of Scott Smith here.