Five teenage boys identified earlier this month as suspects of the vandalism of the historic Old Ashburn Schoolhouse on Ashburn Road were served juvenile petitions this week, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO).
The boys, three 16-year-olds from Sterling, a 17-year-old from Sterling and a 16-year-old from Ashburn, were all charged with felony destruction of property and misdemeanor entering property of another for the purpose of damaging it.
Loudoun’s Office of the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney reviewed the investigation and decided the case did not meet the legal requirements for a hate crime. In Virginia, a hate crime is defined as “a criminal act committed against a person or his property with the specific intent of instilling fear or intimidation in the individual against whom the act is perpetrated because of race, religion or ethnic origin or that is committed for the purpose of restraining that person from exercising his rights,” according to the Virginia legal code.
The vandalism was discovered Oct. 1 and consisted of graffiti on the outside walls of the building, including a swastika and the words “white power”.
The Tribune was meeting with Sheriff Mike Chapman when the news of the petitions was announced. Chapman credited the diligent work of his deputies in identifying the teens and gathering information about how the vandalism came about. Much of that information, including the names of the young men, will remain sealed due to their ages and that the case is in the hands of juvenile court services.