Former Student: School Wanted Him to Change His Statement

Asra Nomani | March 21, 2024

(Fairfax County Times) — You could hear a pin drop in Courtroom 1000 in the last hour of the third day of a trial over an alleged rape coverup by Fairfax County Public Schools officials 12 years ago. 

In the witness box, a young man, 25, whom the Fairfax County Times is calling “Clark,” testified that, as an eighth grader, he witnessed rampant sexual harassment and bullying of a seventh grader, B.R., or “Kate,” when they were both students at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon. In a booming voice that filled the courtroom, he said he filed a complaint, but instead of believing him, the school’s three assistant principals, sitting just feet away from him in the courtroom – Sybil Terry, Phil Hudson, and Tamara Ballou – pulled him out of classes one, two, three, four times to ask him to “reevaluate” his statement, one time even putting check marks over the statements he was told to “reevaluate.”

He noted that he felt “like I was being pressured to change my statement.”

“Oh my God,” whispered Susan Johnson, a local mother leaning forward in the gallery, listening intently not far behind “Kate,” who sat at the plaintiff’s table. Johnson, founder of an organization, the Parent Coalition to End Human Trafficking, later said, “What we heard is gross negligence. It’s an abuse of power. For administrators to ask a student to change his statement to fit their narrative is inconceivable. It’s an intimidation tactic.” 

She shook her head and said, “They’re evil and diabolical.”

Outside the trial, the Fairfax County Times has learned that many students – especially girls – dreaded going to Rachel Carson Middle School because girls were sexually harassed while boys went unpunished. Former students said assistant principal Sybil Terry was so notorious for blaming the girls for attracting unwanted attention with their clothing that they started calling her “Scary Terry, the Dress Code Fairy.”

Indeed, on day one of the trial, Mrs. R testified about the horror of learning her daughter, “Kate,” was being sexually harassed and bullied in the fall of 2011 as a 12-year-old seventh grader at the school. According to a civil complaint “Kate” later filed, Terry told “Kate” and her parents that one of her alleged assailants, C.K., “had a very hard life and been in enough trouble.” She asked “Kate” and her parents “why they were trying to ruin a young boy’s life.” 

On day two, August “Augie” Frattali, the principal of Rachel Carson Middle School at the time, fumbled through answers about how school officials investigated the bullying that “Kate” faced, telling lawyers for “Kate” they needed to direct many of their questions to the assistant principals, especially Terry, who is still an assistant principal at the school. 

Then, on Wednesday, on day three of the trial, the young man, 25, walked into Courtroom 1000 of the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Virginia on Courthouse Square in a crisp suit and confident stride, taking an oath to tell the truth and stepping into the witness stand. The Fairfax County Times is calling him “Clark.”

“Clark” said he graduated from James Madison University on an ROTC scholarship. Today, he has a top-secret security clearance, works as a government contractor, and is a rifle platoon leader in the Virginia National Guard.

In December 2011, “Clark” said he was a 13-year-old eighth grader at Rachel Carson Middle School when he met “Kate.” In January 2012, they became “boyfriend and girlfriend.”

Were you aware of cyberbullying and sexual harassment at the school, with girls called “slut” and whore?” asked Robert Keefe, an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, which is representing “Kate.”


“Based on your observations, did school officials handle the problem?”

“They didn’t handle it at all,” the young man responded. 

He described a shocking scene of how boys would freely roam the halls of the school, with no retribution from administrators or staff, participating in a harassing hallway activity called “scooping,” which involved groping girls’ breasts. 

“Kate,” he said, faced “two sets of rumors,” a “dueling set.” What were the rumors? “That she was easy, that she was a slut.” One rumor was that “Kate” had consensual sex with an eighth grader, C.K., while another student said that “he had raped her.” 

The second rumor was about a boy with whom she had visited a pumpkin patch at Bradley Farm in Herndon – her first date ever. He claimed she “gave him a blow job,” while others said that “he forced her to make out.” 

He said the harassment that “Kate” faced was “targeted,” not just ordinary middle school banter.

He testified that he saw “Kate” crying from the bullying “half a dozen times,” sharing with him thoughts of suicidal ideation. It worried him, he said.

Four times, when asked if he had told anyone, he responded, “Yes. I told Sybil Terry, Phil Hudson, Tamara Ballou,” the assistant principals.