On Sunday, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin granted an “absolute pardon” to a father who was arrested at a school board meeting after the superintendent lied about his daughter’s rape by a boy wearing a skirt.
The pardon says that in June 2021, Scott Smith “exercised his constitutional right to attend a public meeting of the Loudoun County School Board to observe the proceedings, during which time a community member threatened to spread false and malicious information about Mr. Smith’s business with the intent to damage his reputation.”
“After an ensuing verbal confrontation, Scott Thomas Smith was charged with Obstruction of Justice and Disorderly Conduct,” and Smith was quickly convicted, even though an appeals court later disqualified the prosecutor due to concerns about “the integrity of the prosecution,” the pardon continues.
“WHEREAS Scott Thomas Smith has been publicly and falsely accused of ‘domestic terrorism’ and ‘hate crimes’ for attempting to advocate for his daughter, a victim of sexual assault… I have decided it is just and appropriate to grant this ABSOLUTE PARDON that reflects Scott Thomas Smith’s factual innocence,” it concludes.
Smith’s story galvanized many parents who felt concerns that schools had begun sacrificing student safety and academics for ideology. Youngkin’s pledge to be a voice for parents such as Smith helped get him the boost he needed to take office, a month after Smith’s story was first reported on by The Daily Wire.
Buta Biberaj, a Democrat prosecutor, decided against her typical soft-on-crime stance and personally argued to put Smith in jail for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Smith was denied a jury because the alleged crime was a misdemeanor in General District Court, and he was quickly convicted by a judge.
While Smith appealed the ruling and would have been entitled to a jury in appeals court, the legal saga has dragged on for over two years and has taken a significant financial and emotional toll on Smith, who says he’s grateful Youngkin allowed him to move on.
“I’m thankful that the Youngkin administration gave me an off-ramp to these charges that never should have happened,” Smith told The Daily Wire. “It’s kind of bittersweet, because I really looked forward to winning this in court. But unfortunately, our justice system is so screwed up right now that I didn’t feel that I could potentially get a fair shot in court.”
“That’s what should scare every American–is that I had to take this, because I could not trust our justice system,” Smith said.
While Smith was trapped in a lengthy legal battle, the very same system acquitted Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard for perjury charges, after he falsely blamed Smith for police presence on the day that Smith’s daughter was raped. He also lied, stating that no students were in danger, when the rapist remained on the loose.
While the rapist was eventually convicted in juvenile court, due to a mistake by Biberaj, he will not be placed on the sex offenders registry.
Smith said that on the night of the school board meeting where he was arrested, school board members were discussing passing a policy to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of their choice. His daughter had reportedly intended to say through a megaphone that just a few weeks prior, she had been raped in a school bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt.
“That’s why Jackie attacked us, was to stop [my daughter] from speaking,” he said, referring to Jackie Schworm, a radical leftist who had just spoken to Smith’s daughter, then sought out Smith and threatened to use social media to ruin his business. A police officer grabbed Smith from behind, and a struggle ensued.
An appeals court said not only that the prosecutor may have been biased, but that the fact that Smith had cursed at Schworm was enough to retry him. Smith added that, even if his appeal would have won, “radical prosecutors” had already punished him by putting him through a multiyear process.
“The damage has already been done,” Smith said. “This process has been absolutely brutal, because it took away some of my family treasure that [could have gone to] my daughter’s situation.”
Smith was plastered around the world as photos of him being dragged away by police were published by media and used as a symbol of how angry conservative parents were supposedly disrupting school board meetings out of bigotry and ignorance.
The National School Boards Association likened him to a domestic terrorist in a letter that the Biden administration used to mobilize antiterrorism forces against parents.
However, it was later revealed that not only had his daughter been raped, but the superintendent had lied about it, and the school system allowed the rapist to attend another school where he sexually assaulted a second girl.
“They villainized me and my family from the minute my daughter reported that she was sexually assaulted, pretty much until present time,” he said.
Biberaj wanted “to make an example out of me to scare people from speaking out. And quite frankly, it worked,” Smith said, noting that far fewer parents have turned out to school board meetings and spoken out since his arrest.
He intends to sue the prosecutor for misconduct and possibly the National School Boards Association.
Youngkin’s pardon fulfills a part of his campaign promise to focus on parental rights in education. The governor has had significant success and high favorability ratings in what was previously considered a blue state.
On Tuesday, Youngkin will hold a “Parents Matter” conversation in Loudoun at Cornerstone Chapel, a church that was placed on an enemies list by a group of liberal activists called the Loudoun Love Warriors.
The church’s pastor says it’s “ironic that those who espouse ‘tolerance’ the most, are actually some of the most intolerant people toward those of us with different views and values.”
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