NYT: ‘How a Sexual Assault in a School Bathroom Became a Political Weapon’
In the legacy media’s ongoing effort to stigmatize modesty and human decency, a news story just accused concerned parents of politicizing the rape of a 15-year-old girl to promote their real agenda of advancing nefarious, hateful, bigoted views of transgenderism. The New York Times recently published a story titled “How a Sexual Assault in a School Bathroom Became a Political Weapon” — presumably because “Republicans pounce on rape!” was taken. Like most of the booming subgenre of stories designed to shift the blame for the “culture wars” to conservatives, it cannot withstand scrutiny.
First, the facts: The heartbreaking story began in 2021, when the Loudoun County Public Schools in the D.C. suburbs planned to adopt Policy 8040, which would allow students who identify as transgender to use the opposite sex’s restrooms. As the policy was coming up for a vote, a 15-year-old boy wearing a skirt raped and sodomized a teenage girl inside a bathroom stall at Stone Bridge High School on May 28. The assault came 15 days after an employee warned administration about the perpetrator’s aggressive behavior, and three days after physical education teacher Tanner Cross spoke out against the policy at the latest school board meeting. (“I serve God first, and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa, because it’s against my religion,” Cross said. For expressing his Bible-based views, the district put him on administrative leave.)
Internal emails from the day of the assault show that school officials worried the rape would prevent them from adopting their cross-sex bathroom policy. Kevin Lewis, the district’s chief operations officer, sent an email to LCPS administrators noting, “The incident at SBHS is related to policy 8040.” To make matter worse (from their perspective), Woke administrators had already provoked parental backlash by promoting a controversial curriculum of racial collective guilt and defending pornographic books promoting “sex work” in school libraries. They even belonged to an online group that compiled the names of parents who opposed their policies and asked for “hackers” to “shut down their websites or direct them to pro-CRT” pages.
When the rape victim’s father, Scott Smith, came to the next school board meeting, then-superintendent Scott Ziegler denied that any assault had ever happened. “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” said Ziegler — a comment the grand jury report labeled “a bald-faced lie,” for which he’s currently being prosecuted. (He showed up to the hearing with painted nails and earrings.) Ultimately, police brutalized Smith, arrested him, and the Left cited his outrage as proof that parents posed a domestic terrorist threat to left-wing school boards.
… And the lies kept pouring in. Multiple school board members testified that the rapist wore a “kilt,” rather than a skirt, during the assault. LCPS officials also “forgot” all the details of a meeting they had to discuss how the rape impacted Policy 8040, which the grand jury called “intentional institutional amnesia.” According to Homans, their stonewalling could be considered “justifiable outmaneuvering of an inquiry that the school officials, by that point, had cause to view as a partisan fishing expedition.” They lied, but, well, Republicans were pouncing.
The LCPS school board passed Policy 8040 on August 11 and transferred the perpetrator to nearby Broad Run High School, where he victimized another girl in an empty classroom on October 7. Investigative journalist Luke Rosiak of The Daily Wire, broke the story nationally, and outraged parents demanded action. (Full disclosure: This author worked alongside Rosiak at The Daily Wire at that time.) Former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was running for reelection, rebuffed parents and embraced teachers’ unions, while Republican Glenn Youngkin embraced parental rights and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Republican political victory is precisely the problem the legacy media seek to correct. Enter the New York Times. To turn back the red tide, the legacy media must claim parents divided the nation by protecting their children from forced sodomy, that there is no need for separate restrooms or changing facilities, and that the real solution is to better indoctrinate parents in extreme gender ideology.
According to The New York Times, the real issue isn’t that public servants lied about a student victimizing multiple young girls; it’s that you realized and resisted. Ziegler’s “answer was, on its face, false. And it was only a matter of time before someone noticed,” wrote Homans.
A gender-bending predator raped an underage girl; school administrators covered it up to promote a far-Left, extremist policy; and — boom! — Republicans started another culture war!
Now-Governor Youngkin has responded by issuing a statewide educational guidance recognizing parents as the primary educators of their children, banning transgender ideology from the classroom, and requiring hormonal teenagers to use their own sex’s intimate facilities. The last point particularly angers the media.
“Advocates for the legislation often claimed that the bills weren’t really about transgender rights at all, but about public safety,” wrote Homans. “The problem with this argument was that there was no evidence.” Or as Ziegler told the June 22 meeting, “The predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.”
But that, too, is a bald-faced lie. To take but one example: An 18-year-old man who identifies as transgender and went by the name “Katie Dolatowski” assaulted a 10-year-old girl in a supermarket restroom, grabbing her by the face, shoving her into a stall, and demanding she take off her pants. She fought back and avoided an assault — but she was his second victim. He had previously recorded a 12-year-old British girl by placing his phone over the stall partition. So had Sean Patrick Smith of Idaho, who identifies as a woman named “Shauna Patricia Smith” confessing Target’s open-door policy let him surreptitiously take videos of women undressing in the changing room. Police say, like most predators, he had multiple victims.
That did not convince National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Executive Director Mara Keisling, who championed the Target policy. Smith’s arrest “has nothing to do with whether or not I should be allowed to use the bathroom in a restaurant,” he said.
As usual, the Times story was simply a way to get the Left’s talking points into popular discussion.
In fact, The New York Times’ author hinges his entire argument on the fact that the media and grand jury report described the rapist as “gender-fluid,” but he later told authorities he’s actually pansexual. “Pansexuality, or attraction toward people regardless of their sexual or gender identity, is categorically different from gender fluidity. It is a sexual orientation, not a gender identity, and so a self-identified pansexual would not have been allowed into the girls’ bathroom under Policy 8040, Homans asserts. But poor, benighted voters can’t understand the distinction between these categories. There is little “public awareness” of “the vanguard of the discourse on gender and sexuality,” Homans sighed.
There are multiple problems with this line of reasoning. First of all, The New York Times (and the LGBTQ website The Washington Blade) make much of the fact that the perpetrator’s mother said he does not formally identify as transgender. But his mother may not be the most reliable narrator: She claimed her son accidentally sodomized the girl when his watch got caught on his skirt, blamed the victim for not fighting back, and raged that her convicted rapist “son's going to be going on the sexual registry … for the rest of his life because he had 15-year-old hormones.” Second, the perpetrator displayed the behavior of someone who is “gender fluid.” The mother said her son “would wear a skirt one day and then the next day, he would wear jeans and a t-shirt, a Polo or hoodie,” because “he was trying to find himself and that involved all kinds of styles.” This picture shows the perpetrator wearing a skirt (not a kilt) and female clothing on another occasion.
Most importantly, on a practical level the rapist’s self-identification is completely irrelevant. By nature, gender self-identification is unverifiable and changeable, day-by-day and moment-by-moment. In fact, that’s precisely how Democrats legally defined gender identity. In 2016, the Obama-Biden administration threatened to withhold federal funds from any school that did not allow males to use female facilities. The administration’s ransom note specifically banned schools from denying students the use of the opposite sex’s facilities “for appearing or behaving in a manner … that does not conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” (President Joe Biden later appointed the author of that letter, Vanita Gupta, as head of his Justice Department’s Reproductive Rights Task Force.)
Even asking someone if he truly identifies as one of the ever-expanding variety of genders risks a civil rights investigation, lawsuit, and losing federal funding.
No one is going to stand sentry at the restroom door, interrogate students, parse the latest gender identities, and ban teens who say they are “pansexual gender non-conforming” from spaces meant only for the “transgender,” “nonbinary,” and “gender-fluid.” Pedophiles and predators will learn that they can advantage of transgender policies to access female victims. And they will take that knowledge with them after graduation.
To any reasonable observer, the Left politicized this issue by promoting a policy that put kids at risk, then lying about it and working with the Biden administration to brand moms and dads as domestic terrorists. There’s no doubt that putting social experimentation over the will of parents cost the Democrats the governor’s mansion in 2021. And Glenn Youngkin is now being touted as a darkhorse presidential candidate. Joe Biden, who is the figurehead of the most radical biology-denying administration in U.S. history, is not going to change his policies, so the media have to change the narrative. But no one can change the immutable biological realities established by nature and nature’s God — nor the dreadful ways male’s greater physical strength, libido, and aggression can harm the most innocent among us.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.