Virginia Democrats Voted to Allow Schools to Refrain from Reporting Sexual Battery in 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam (D., Va.) speaks at a news conference in Alexandria, Va., May 28, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly voted for — and Governor Ralph Northam signed — a law allowing schools to refrain from reporting instances of sexual battery, stalking, violation of a protective order, and violent threats occurring on school property in 2020.

§ 22.1-279.3:1 of Virginia code had required that these, among a number of other major crimes, be reported to law enforcement if they occurred on campus. Democrats insisted that misdemeanors be extirpated from reporting requirements in House Bill 257, replacing the word “criminal” with “felony” in the code.

In a stunning exchange between legislators in the House of Delegates last year, Todd Gilbert, the Republican Leader in the body, asked Delegate Mike Mullen “did I hear correctly that you would not have to report sexual battery to law enforcement any longer if we accept these amendments?”

“I would answer the minority leader that he is not hard of hearing, and that he is asking me to repeat this over again even though he heard it the first time,” responded Mullen, the bill’s sponsor.

“Forgive me, Madam

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