A special grand jury can continue its investigation into how Loudoun County Public Schools handled two sex assault cases involving a teenage boy last year, a judge ruled.
On Monday, a judge turned down the Loudoun County School Board’s request for an injunction to stop the probe.
One of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s first executive orders when he took office set the stage for Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares to establish a special grand jury in the case.
The grand jury has met for several months to look into how the county school system handled two sex assaults committed by the same high school student.
After the first attack at Stone Bridge High School, the boy was allowed to attend Broad Run High School, where a second assault took place.
The parents of the first victim said after Monday's hearing they were glad the judge ruled the investigation could move forward.
"I'm very thankful that it played out the way it did today. You know, we need the special grand jury to do their due diligence and to do the work that needs to be done in order for justice to be upheld," Jessica Smith said.
Lawyers for the Loudoun County School Board argued that Miyares was in violation of Virginia’s constitution when he created a grand jury to probe another government body.
But Virginia Deputy Attorney General Steven Popps told the judge, "The school board is not above the law.”
Lawyers for Miyares declined to speak to News4 on camera, but said, "We are very happy with the ruling."
Outside the courthouse, a group of women who support the school district lined a fence with signs promoting messages of inclusion and kindness.
They said they're worried the school board is being unfairly judged.
"It seems the school system, as far as our thinking, has been a victim of just some really negative, malicious intent. You know, they're being used politically," resident Tammy Cummins said.
Both the victims' parents and the women who protested said they want the special grand jury to complete its work.
"We are in the fight until the very end, you know. I mean, this needs to come out," Smith said.
Because the special grand jury proceedings are secret, it’s unknown how long it will take. Its findings could lead to anything from no report, to recommendations for change to criminal charges.
In a statement, Loudoun County Public Schools said the school board's attorneys are considering their legal options, but have not yet made a decision about whether to appeal the judge's ruling.