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Virginia's Glenn Youngkin Pardons Man Involved in Altercation Over Trans Restroom Policy

Virginia's Glenn Youngkin Pardons Man Involved in Altercation Over Trans Restroom Policy

Glenn Youngkin and Scott Thomas Smith

Scott Thomas Smith wrongly claimed a student who assaulted his daughter was gender-fluid. After a contentious school board meeting, Smith was convicted of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pardoned a man who was convicted of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice in a confrontation over the sexual assault of his daughter in a school restroom — an assault that the father wrongly blamed on the school’s transgender-inclusive restroom policy.

Scott Thomas Smith’s daughter was assaulted in the spring of 2021 at a high school in Loudoun County in northern Virginia. He brought the matter up at a contentious school board meeting in June of that year, when the board was debating accommodations for trans students and taking public comments. Smith has claimed his daughter’s assault happened because of “radical gender policies” and that the student who attacked her was gender-fluid because he was wearing a skirt, The Washington Post reports.

But while the attacker was indeed wearing a skirt, he was not gender-fluid, trans, or anything but cisgender, according to Loudoun County prosecutor Buti Biberaj. In 2021, she told The New York Times the student was not “identifying as transgender and going into the girls’ bathroom under the guise of that.” He did not have permission to use the girls’ restroom, she said. Plus Loudoun County schools did not have the inclusive restroom policy in place until August 2021, after Smith’s daughter was assaulted and after the board meeting that resulted in the charges against him.

The student was transferred to another school, where he was accused of a second assault. He was found criminally responsible in both cases, and he was placed on supervised probation in a residential treatment facility until he is 18. He also had to register as a sex offender in Virginia, and he will remain on the registry for life, the Post notes. His name has not appeared in published reports because he is a minor. The fact that he was transferred after the first assault raised concerns among county residents.

During comments on the proposal to let trans students use the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity, some raised the specter of assaults occurring if the policy was adopted, although the idea of the “trans restroom predator” has been shown to be a myth. Smith clashed with some other attendees at the meeting, and one threatened to spread “false and malicious information” about his business, the pardon document states.

As a result of the confrontations at the meeting, Smith was removed by police and charged with obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct. He was convicted on both charges and appealed. The obstruction of justice conviction was overturned on appeal, and a hearing on his appeal of the disorderly conduct charge was set for September 25, according to his attorneys. But now Youngkin’s pardon has rendered the matter moot.

The pardon is “absolute” and represents Smith’s “factual innocence” of disorderly conduct, says the document, dated Friday. Youngkin announced it Sunday on the Fox News Channel, and Smith’s lawyers sent out a press release that day.

“We righted a wrong,” Youngkin, a Republican, said on the Fox News Sunday program.

“He should have never been prosecuted here. This was a dad standing up for his daughter,” the governor added. “His daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom of a school, and no one was doing anything about it.”

Buteraj, however, said the pardon was politically motivated. “This is an unprecedented and inappropriate intervention into an active legal case,” she told the Post. “He chose to interfere in the legal process, and not for justice, but for political gain.” Youngkin has often criticized LGBTQ-inclusive and otherwise progressive policies in schools.

She said there is video footage of Smith threatening physical harm to a woman at the June 2021 meeting and of him tussling with and being restrained by sheriff’s deputies. The pardon is “a slap in the face for law enforcement” and “sends a message that [Youngkin] believes that the deputies lied about the facts of the case, that the magistrate wrongfully issued the arrest warrants, and the special prosecutor from Stafford, who is prosecuting the case, was engaging in wrongful prosecution,” she said.

A judge in Virginia removed Buteraj, a Democrat, from prosecuting the case in response to a request from Smith’s attorneys, who claimed she was biased against him. The special prosecutor the judge appointed is a Republican.

In the press release from his attorneys, Smith said he was prosecuted for exercising his constitutional rights and speaking up for his daughter. He said he has been called a “domestic terrorist,” which he is not. “I will continue to fight for parents and their children who are affected by these misguided and dangerous school policies,” he said, adding that he plans to take legal action against the Loudoun County schools.

Youngkin and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares opened a grand jury investigation into the school system’s handling of the assault cases, and the grand jury concluded that it “bungled” the matter, the Post reports. The system’s superintendent, Scott Ziegler, resigned after the grand jury’s findings were released.

Pictured, from left: Glenn Youngkin and Scott Thomas Smith

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