A Loudoun County high school student who allegedly groped a girl at Broad Run High School last week was on electronic monitoring after being charged with sexually assaulting a young girl in a bathroom in an Ashburn high school in May.
Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj told WTOP that the same 15-year-old has been charged in both crimes, and is being held at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center.
The name of the suspect is not being released because of his age. He is currently charged in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
The young suspect is charged with felony sexual assault counts in connection with the May 28 incident at Stone Bridge High School. While the juvenile complaint details the allegations, nothing in the charges indicates how the teen ended up in the girl’s bathroom.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said that the suspect and the victim on May 28 were familiar with each other.
“The investigation was complex, and a public announcement had the potential to identify a juvenile victim,” the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The sheriff’s office was contacted “within minutes of receiving the initial report on May 28,” Wayde Byard, public information officer for Loudoun County Public Schools, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
The teen, then 14, was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy for bathroom assault on July 8. Biberaj said DNA samples were submitted to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis.
In juvenile cases, an investigating deputy brings the case to the juvenile court services unit, and meets with an intake officer. The intake officer — whose role can be compared to a magistrate in an adult case — levied the charges in July.
After a juvenile is charged and detained, prosecutors have 21 days before they are required to either adjudicate his case, or release the suspect.
“When 21 days was about to expire, we hadn’t gotten the DNA analysis — and it was necessary to have that to establish one of the charges. So, we had to either try it without the DNA and run the risk of not making that case, or ask the court for additional time,” Biberaj said.
A juvenile court judge “ordered electronic monitoring for the suspect, to be monitored by the probation office,” Biberaj said. “He was still under the terms of at electronic monitoring at the time” of the October incident.
Biberaj said prosecutors had been in touch with the victim of the May 28 assault, her family, and their lawyer, Elizabeth Lancaster. Lancaster has not immediately responded to a WTOP request for comment.
Byard explained the school system’s actions after immediately reporting the May 28 incident to the sheriff’s office:
"Once a matter has been reported to law enforcement, LCPS does not begin its investigation until law enforcement advises LCPS that it has completed the criminal investigation. To maintain the integrity of the criminal investigation, law enforcement requested that LCPS not interview students until their investigation is concluded. LCPS has cooperated and continues to cooperate with law enforcement."
After the incident was reported to the school, and then the sheriff’s office, Byard said, the school system “does impose interim measures to protect the safety of students involved in the original incident, deter retaliation, and preserve the integrity of the investigation and resolution process.”
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said that it is not involved in school discipline (nor the placement of students), but it works closely with school officials throughout all criminal investigations.
The teen suspect was due to be in court this week regarding the May incident; however, with the filing of the second charge, the court appearance will be rescheduled.
Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.