Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Scandal Looms Over Loudoun County

Rotherham Child Sex Abuse Scandal Looms Over Loudoun County

The extreme political correctness that caused the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal has led to a similar dereliction of duty in Loudoun County.
John Daniel Davidson
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By now, much of the country has heard of Loudoun County, Virginia, where a skirt-wearing “gender fluid” male student allegedly raped a girl in the bathroom and was then quietly transferred to another school where he allegedly sexually assaulted another girl, all while the school board forced a transgender bathroom policy on unsuspecting parents.

Much of the country has also heard of Scott Smith, the father of the first girl who was allegedly raped. The story of Smith’s arrest at a now-infamous Loudoun County school board meeting in June, where he attempted to confront the school board about the sexual assault on his daughter, has been widely covered.

Those who have been following this story also know how Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler lectured parents at that meeting who were concerned about a proposed bathroom policy that would allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that “correspond to their consistently asserted gender identity.”

Those concerns, Ziegler said, were misplaced. He falsely claimed, “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” and later cited a 2016 Time magazine article calling the issue of transgender students committing assaults in bathrooms a “red herring.” This was just weeks after Smith’s daughter had been reportedly raped in a girls’ bathroom by a transgender student.

Now, the plot thickens. According to a report from The Daily Wire last week, Loudoun County Public Schools have failed to report sexual assaults in its district for years as required under Virginia state law, which also requires that sexual assaults be reported to the superintendent. So not only did Ziegler lie to parents when he said he had no knowledge of any sexual assaults in the bathrooms, but the school district itself lied to the Virginia Department of Education when it reported that Stone Bridge High School, where Smith’s daughter was allegedly raped in May, had no record of any sexual assaults in the 2020-21 school year.

Smith and his wife are filing a lawsuit against the school district. A group of Loudoun County teachers are also suing the school district over the new transgender student policy. A school board member resigned last week amid a recall effort that’s targeting the entire school board. The story is still developing, and new details will certainly come to light in the days and weeks to come.

But stepping back from the details, one wonders how this could even happen in a civilized country. It seems too disgusting and outlandish to be true. School board members and a school superintendent, possibly a principal as well, all covering up a sexual assault by a transgender student because it would hamper their efforts to pass an extremist transgender bathroom policy?

But it is true, and it is not without precedent. Criminal coverups arising from a toxic mixture of cowardice and political correctness have happened before, and one in particular can help us understand what’s happening now in Loudoun County, Virginia, and why.

In Rotherham, Child Rape Was Hiding In Plain Sight

In the early 2000s, a child prostitution ring was uncovered in the English town of Rotherham.  The local authorities were informed all about it — about how girls as young 11 were being abducted, beaten, gang-raped, tortured, and trafficked to other cities by a local organized crime ring. Some of these girls were doused in gasoline and threatened that if they told anyone, their mothers and sisters would be raped, too.

The authorities did nothing, despite multiple official reports from Rotherham youth services detailing widespread child sex abuse in the area. This went on for years and years, and at least 1,400 children were victimized. The local government and law enforcement authorities knew about it the entire time. But they did nothing. Why? Because the perpetrators were ethnic minorities, Pakistani Muslim men, and the authorities feared being accused of racism if they said or did anything.

But the authorities didn’t just ignore it. The city council, police, and social workers in Rotherham abetted the criminals by trying to cover it all up, to hide the ethnicity of the perpetrators, and dismiss the claims of the girls who came forward. Instead of taking action in light of previous reports from the youth service, the Rotherham council not only chose not to act, but to close that service down.

In 2014, the former chief inspector of social work in Scotland released a 153-page report that finally broke the whole thing open. Among the many revelations in that report was that most of the victims were white girls from troubled homes, and the perpetrators were Pakistani Muslim men.

This fact alone accounts for the mind-boggling dereliction of duty that ensued over the course of a decade and a half, in which Rotherham authorities ignored, downplayed, or covered up rampant, violent, and systematic sexual abuse and trafficking of underage girls — all because the criminals behind it were ethnic minorities.

It’s hard to imagine political correctness running amok quite this badly, but it really happened. And it happened because of cowardice — the cowardice of the police, of the social workers, of every adult whose job it was to protect these girls, hundreds and hundreds of them, who had no one else to look out for them. The authorities were afraid of being thought of as racist, so they turned a blind eye to horrific sexual abuse of the most vulnerable members of their community.

Now, it’s happening in America. Not on the scale that it did in Rotherham, at least not yet, but the basic impulse that led to Rotherham — cowardice hiding behind radical political correctness — has led to the same dereliction of duty in Loudoun County, Virginia. Perhaps it is happening elsewhere in America. In fact, it probably is.

What both Rotherham and Loudoun County should teach us is that the woke elites who run our public institutions will sacrifice our children for the sake of their ideology and the maintenance of their positions of power. Not even the rape of a child — or 1,400 children — is enough to rouse them to action.

What would rouse them? Being fired, forced to resign, publicly disgraced, and if they broke any laws, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let their fate be a warning to the bureaucrats who succeed them: if you put our children in danger, or put your ideological agenda above the safety of our kids, we will ruin you.

If we don’t do that, what happened in Loudoun County will simply be ignored. And then it will happen again.

John is the Political Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.

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