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Abuse Guardians
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Woodbridge, VA – State police have charged the choir director at Woodbridge Senior High School in connection with the sexual abuse of a minor in Leesburg seven years ago.

Virginia Choir Director Charged with Sexual Abuse of Minor

Joel A. Shapiro, 32, was arrested on Thursday and charged with one felony count of taking indecent liberties with a child by a custodian, according to state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller. The investigation was initiated last July based on an allegation made against Shapiro regarding a 2017 incident in Leesburg, where he was living at the time and working as a music teacher with Clarke County Schools.

Shapiro was taken into custody without incident and released on bond from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. He has worked at Woodbridge High School in Lake Ridge since 2017, teaching several school choirs and chorales. Prior to that, he taught at Clarke County High School and Johnson-Williams Middle School in Berryville from 2014 to 2017.

Alleged Child Sex Abuse Victim Comes Forward with Evidence Against Teacher

The Loudoun Times-Mirror reports that Shapiro’s alleged victim came forward about the sexual abuse and “provided pictures, text messages, and handwritten notes from Shapiro verifying the relationship,” according to a criminal complaint on file at the Loudoun County courthouse. “Two … classmates have corroborated parts of her story.”

In a note to the Woodbridge High School community this week, Principal Heather Abney said Shapiro has been placed on administrative leave and school officials are cooperating with authorities, though the alleged offense happened before he was a Prince William schools employee.

“We are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for every student,” Abney wrote.

Ongoing Investigation After Former Clarke County School Music Teacher Arrested

State police are urging anyone with information concerning the investigation to come forward. The investigation remains ongoing, and individuals can contact the state police Fairfax field office at 703-803-2676 or email

Were You Sexually Abused By a High School Music Teacher? Learn Your Rights.

In light of the recent arrest of the choir teacher accused of sexual abuse of a minor, we sat down with Kevin Biniazan, Esq., an experienced Virginia sex abuse lawyer. Kevin discusses the legal rights available for those sexually abused by a high school choir director and how to hold negligent schools accountable.

Laurence Banville, Esq. (LB): Thank you for joining us, Kevin. As an experienced child sexual abuse attorney, what legal options are available for victims of abuse by a high school choir director?

Kevin Biniazan, Esq. (KB): Victims of sexual abuse by a teacher or school employee have several legal avenues they can pursue. They may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for the abuse, as well as the school district for negligence in failing to protect the student. Victims can also report the abuse to law enforcement, which can lead to criminal charges against the abuser.

LB: What about holding the school district accountable in cases like this? How can negligent schools be held responsible?

KB: Schools have a duty to protect their students from harm, including sexual abuse by staff members. If a school district was aware of or should have been aware of the abusive behavior and failed to take appropriate action, they can be held liable in a civil lawsuit. Victims may be able to recover damages for the harm they suffered due to the school’s negligence.

LB: What advice would you give to victims and their families in a situation like this?

KB: My advice would be to seek support, both legal and therapeutic. Reach out to a qualified sexual assault attorney who can advise you on your rights and guide you through the legal process. Additionally, connect with counseling and victim advocacy services to help you heal and navigate the emotional trauma. It’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you seek justice and move forward.

LB: Thank you, Kevin. We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.

KB: I’m glad I could provide some helpful information. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual abuse by a teacher or school employee, we encourage you to reach out to our team of experienced sexual assault attorneys. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss your legal rights and options for seeking justice and accountability. Don’t suffer in silence – contact us today to take the first step towards healing and recovery.


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