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Abuse Guardians
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Loudoun County, VA – A Heritage High School staff member has been suspended without pay after being charged with a felony. According to an email sent to parents by Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), the staff member, William Cody Smallwood, was arrested on April 5, 2024, after proposing sex acts to a minor via a communication system.

VA High School Staffer Placed on Administrative Leave Following Sex Crimes Charges

The email stated that Smallwood was placed on administrative leave at the end of August 2023 after investigators with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office contacted school officials about Smallwood’s involvement in a criminal investigation. On April 5, 2024, Smallwood was arrested, and his leave was updated to unpaid status.

Smallwood Accused of Soliciting Sex From Minor

According to the indictment obtained by 7News, Smallwood, who is 18 years of age or older, is accused of using a communications system, including computers or computer networks, to solicit, with lascivious intent, a person he knew or had reason to believe was a child less than 15 years of age. The alleged offense occurred between July 6, 2023, and July 11, 2023, in Frederick County, Virginia.

School’s Response to Staffer’s Felony Sex Crimes Charges

Heritage High School Principal Jeff Adam sent a letter to the community on Tuesday evening, providing more details about the situation. The letter stated that LCPS cooperated with the investigation, and Smallwood was arrested on April 5, 2024.

A court hearing for Smallwood is scheduled for April 11, 2024, as the legal process continues.

Holding Schools Accountable For Protecting Students From Predators

The recent news of a Heritage High School staff member being suspended after a felony charge has raised serious concerns about the duty of schools to safeguard their students from potential sexual predators. To better understand the legal obligations of educational institutions and the recourse available to victims, we sat down with Kevin Biniazan, Esq., an experienced Virginia sex abuse lawyer, to discuss this critical issue.

Lawrence Banville, Esq. (LB): Kevin, as a sex abuse attorney experienced with school sex abuse cases, what are the legal obligations of schools when it comes to protecting students from potential sexual predators on staff?

Kevin Biniazan, Esq. (KB): Schools have a fundamental duty to provide a safe and secure environment for their students. This includes thoroughly vetting and monitoring all staff members to ensure they do not pose a threat to the well-being of the students in their care. Failure to do so can result in devastating consequences, as we’ve seen in this case.

LB: Can you elaborate on the specific steps schools should be taking to fulfill this duty?

KB: Absolutely. Schools must conduct comprehensive background checks, including criminal history and references, on all prospective employees. They should also have robust policies and procedures in place to regularly monitor staff behavior and promptly investigate any reports of inappropriate conduct. Additionally, schools should provide comprehensive training to all staff on recognizing and reporting signs of potential abuse.

LB: In a case involving school negligence, what recourse do victims and their families have against the school?

KB: If the school was aware, or should have been aware, of a teacher or employee’s concerning behavior and failed to take appropriate action, they may be held liable for negligence. Victims and their families may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against the school district for failing to uphold their duty of care and protect students from harm.

LB: Thank you for providing such valuable insights on this critical issue.

KB: Thank you, Laurence. I hope that by educating schools on their legal obligations, we can encourage them to take the necessary steps to safeguard their students and prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.

Seeking Support and Justice for School Abuse Victims

For victims and their families grappling with the aftermath of abuse by a school staffer, the path forward can seem daunting. However, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. If you or a loved one have been sexually abused by a school staff member, we encourage you to reach out to our team of experienced sexual assault attorneys for a free consultation. We understand the sensitivity of these cases and are committed to providing compassionate, personalized guidance to help you navigate the legal system and pursue the justice and accountability you deserve. Your healing and well-being are our top priorities. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and options.


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