Office of Virginia’s New AG Jason Miyares Denies Firing Civil Rights Division Within Hours of Being Sworn In

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
January 18, 2022 Updated: January 19, 2022

A spokeswoman for Virginia’s new Attorney General Jason Miyares has denied reports that Miyares fired all staff members of the civil rights division within hours of taking office last week.

Miyares was sworn in on Jan. 15, and quickly announced a string of investigations into the Virginia Parole Board and Loudoun County Public Schools, stating that “Virginians deserve answers,” transparency, and accountability in the wake of what he described as scandals and their “horrific aftermath.”

Reports also emerged that Miyares had notified roughly 30 staff members that they would no longer be employed by the Office of the Attorney General.

Virginia State Sen. Louise Lucas wrote on Twitter that Miyares fired the “entire” civil rights division, which she said was “total hypocrisy.”

“During the campaign, it was made clear that now-Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office,” Miyares’s spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita told Richmond.com. “We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past.”

A spokesperson for Miyares’s office told The Epoch Times: “Thirty personnel changes were made in the entire Office of the Attorney General, which employs 523 in the office and 643 statewide.

“The claim that the entire Office of a Civil Rights was disbanded is incorrect. Only two personnel changes were made out of 12 who work in the office.”

Epoch Times Photo
Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (C) waves during the Inauguration address for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on the steps of the State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Miyares was sworn in on Saturday alongside Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears, marking a historic moment. Miyares is the first Latino to serve in the position, while Sears is the first black woman to serve in a statewide office.

The Republican quickly announced that he would be investigating scandals at the Virginia Parole Board and Loudoun County Schools.

The Virginia Parole Board allegedly acted illegally in March 2020 when it released early a number of individuals responsible for a range of crimes, including murder, amid a push to get eligible inmates out of crowded prisons as COVID-19 cases surged throughout the United States.

One of the cases pertained to the freeing of parolee Vincent Martin, who was sentenced to life behind bars for the 1979 murder of police officer Michael Connors during a traffic stop.

“One of the reasons Virginians get so fed up with government is the lack of transparency—and that’s a big issue here,” Miyares wrote. “The Virginia Parole Board broke the law when they let out murders, rapists, and cop killers early on their sentences without notifying the victims. Loudoun Country Public Schools covered up a sexual assault on school grounds for political gain, leading to an additional assault of a young girl.”

In 2020, Virginia’s Office of the State Inspector General issued a report (pdf) finding that the parole board violated the Code of Virginia and VPB policies and procedures in freeing Martin.

The report noted, among other findings, that the Virginia Parole Board had failed to hear from several people who had raised concerns about releasing Martin and that the board did not “endeavor diligently” to contact the family of the victim, as is required by law, prior to making the decision to release him.

Miyares’s second investigation pertains to Loudoun County Public Schools, which has come under fire in recent months over its lack of transparency and failure to take appropriate actions after an alleged sexual assault.

The incident involves a student who allegedly sexually assaulted another student before being transferred to another high school. The same student allegedly then proceeded to sexually assault a second student at the other school.

According to the victim’s family, the assault happened in a girls’ bathroom by a young boy who was allegedly wearing a skirt. That boy was later arrested in the case and charged in juvenile court with two counts of forcible sodomy, according to authorities.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Virginia Parole Board and the Loudoun County Public Schools for comment.

Newly sworn-in Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, paved the way for the investigations to begin on Friday via the signing of two executive orders.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.