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Virginia governor pardons father convicted of disorderly conduct at school board meeting

The father of a teenage sexual assault victim who was convicted of disorderly conduct after angrily confronting school officials has been pardoned by Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin.

Scott Smith made national headlines when he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies during a heated exchange at a Loudoun County School Board meeting in 2021.

Mr Smith had been protesting how a student who had previously assaulted a female classmate at a Stone Bridge High School was allowed to transfer to Broad Run High School, where he abducted and sexually assaulted his daughter in October that year.

The teenager was convicted of two sexual assaults and to sentenced to confinement in a “locked residential programme”.

The father was convicted of disorderly conduct, and a second charge of resisting arrest was later thrown out.

The incident became a flashpoint during the Virginia governor’s election after Mr Smith claimed that the transgressor was “gender fluid” and that a school policy allowing transgender people to use the bathroom matching their gender identity was to blame for the attacks.

Mr Youngkin announced the pardon on Fox News Sunday with host Shannon Bream.

Scott Smith, who was convicted of disorderly conduct at a Loudon County school meeting in 2021, has been pardoned by Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (ABC7)
Scott Smith, who was convicted of disorderly conduct at a Loudon County school meeting in 2021, has been pardoned by Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (ABC7)

In a statement, he said: “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.”

Mr Scott thanked the governor in a statement released through his lawyers to NBC4 for “his absolute and unconditional pardon.”

“My family has been living a nightmare that no family in America should have to endure,” the statement read.

“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.”

Glenn Youngkin announced the pardon in a Fox News interview (2023 Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Glenn Youngkin announced the pardon in a Fox News interview (2023 Atlanta Journal Constitution)

A scathing special grand jury report released last year found that the second attack could have been avoided.

The report showed there was no “cover up” of the assaults by Loudon County school administrators or the board.

Former superintendent Scott Ziegler and spokesperson Wayde Byard were indicted by a grand jury last year over their handling of the assaults.

Mr Byard was found not guilty of perjury during a trial this year. Mr Ziegler is due to go on trial this month on misdemeanour counts of false publication, prohibited conduct and penalising an employee for a court appearance.