20 Months Following Conviction, Virginia School Retained Sex Offender

In Virginia, a middle school counselor who was jailed in 2020 for soliciting sex from a student retained his position for over two years. It turns out he was still able to work his job even after the initial arrest he received for the crime.

Details of His Multiple Arrests

In November 2020, Darren Thornton was taken into custody by law authorities in Chesterfield, Virginia. This was after he had a conversation with an undercover investigator who was acting as a 17-year-old female.

Thornton arranged a rendezvous at which sexual actions would take place; he was taken into custody when he arrived at the location of the encounter. 

According to the court papers, Thornton was found guilty on March 11, 2021. However, his five-year sentence was deferred, owing to the fact that he had been in good conduct.

A spokesperson for the Chesterfield Police Agency, Elizabeth Caroon, verified to numerous local sites that the department promptly alerted Fairfax County Public Schools of Thornton’s arrest.

Fairfax County Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in Virginia. After he was found guilty, the Virginia State Police logged him in their system as a sexual offender.

Thornton was taken into custody for the second time right before he was fired in June. This time, he was accused of going to a lewd, lascivious establishment, as well as soliciting prostitutes.

The former school counselor stated he was framed by the police in both of the incidents that led to his detention.

Thornton worked as a guidance counselor and a high school basketball coach for boys in the Hanover County school system from 2006 to 2020 before beginning his position at Glasgow Middle School.

Statement From The School

However, Thornton had not been dismissed until Thursday, August 18, 2022. This was when a new superintendent made the decision to do so.

On July 28, his staff page was removed from the Glasgow Middle School website.

In a note to the families, Fairfax County School System Superintendent Michelle Reid said the following:

“There is no greater priority than the protection of our kids. On behalf of the state board of education and myself, I want to make it very clear that this entire scenario is intolerable from any perspective.”

“The manner in which this occurred at one of our schools is a source of grave worry for us. I want to reassure you that we are making every effort to ensure something like this never occurs again. I promise to keep you up to speed on any new information on this matter.”

According to the schools’ statistics, there are more than 178,000 pupils and 100,000 educators working inside the district.

On Tuesday, September 27, Thornton is scheduled to make his next appearance in Chesterfield District Court.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.