(DailyVantage.com) – Last Thursday, a Virginia jury acquitted Loudoun County Public Schools Public Information Officer Wayde Byard on one count of perjury, the Associated Press reported.
Byard’s case was the first to go to trial after Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares convened a special grand jury to investigate the Loudoun County Public Schools’ handling of two sexual assaults at two high schools in 2021.
Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order on his first day in office requesting that the Attorney General investigate the incidents.
Prosecutors said when Byard testified before the grand jury, he lied when he said he was unaware of the first assault that occurred in May 2021 at Stone Bridge High School. Byard claimed that he was only made aware of the allegation after the October 2021 sexual assault at Broad Run High School.
During last week’s 3-day trial, prosecutors admitted that there was no documentary evidence showing that Byard was informed of the first incident. Stone Bridge High School principal Tim Flynn testified that he told Byard about the incident during a phone call. However, on cross-examination, Flynn was unable to accurately recall the details of that day.
According to court testimony, at the time of the incident, school officials were more focused on the victim’s father’s angry response when he showed up at the school than they were on his daughter’s assault.
The Daily Wire’s Luke Rosiak reported last Wednesday that school officials who testified during last week’s 3-day trial either claimed to know little about the two sexual assaults that took place at Loudoun County schools in 2021 or claimed that they were unable to remember the details.
Jennifer Leffler, Byard’s defense attorney, told jurors that her client is a well-known community figure who is widely liked by the students in part because he is the one who delivers news of weather-related school closures.
Leffler maintained that Byard is being made the “fall guy” for Loudoun County Schools in what she described as a politically charged grand jury investigation.
With Byard’s acquittal, the only other Loudoun County School official to face charges from the special grand jury probe is former Superintendent Scott Ziegler. Ziegler, who was indicted on three misdemeanor charges, is expected to face a jury later this year.
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