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The family of a Virginia high school student are filing a lawsuit claiming the staff of her high school secretly transitioned her to a male, which set off a chain of events in which the teen ran away and became a victim of sex trafficking.
Michele Blair filed a lawsuit against the Appomattox County School Board, district staff and a Maryland public defender, claiming that her daughter Sage had been transitioned by faculty at the school without her knowledge – while a public defender later fought Blair’s efforts to regain custody of her child.
“They stole my right to protect my daughter,” Blair said of the lawsuit in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “I’m the parent, I am an expert on my child, there is nobody in the school or court system that knows my daughter better than me. They will never know my daughter better than I do.”
Blair said that Sage had a troubled childhood and suffered from mental health issues when she began attending Appomattox County High School in 2021. While at the school, Sage began identifying as male and using male pronouns with the help and support of staffers at the school, something Blair says in the suit was “deliberately concealed” from her parents. That transition also led to severe bullying by classmates, Blair said, something that staffers were aware of.
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Appomattox County High School in Virginia. (Appomattox County High School (Facebook))
“It was verbal, physical, sexually harassed with constant threats of rape by the male classmates,” Blair said. “Despite this, the school encouraged her to use the boys’ bathroom.”
The bullying eventually led Sage to run away from home, Blair said, resulting in the then-14-year-old being kidnapped and raped by multiple men in four different states.
According to the lawsuit, Sage was initially taken to Washington, D.C., after being abducted and was left with two men, who drugged and raped the teen. Sage was then allegedly driven to Maryland and left with a registered sex offender, who drugged and raped the child.
Sage was eventually rescued from the situation by federal authorities, but the trauma didn’t end there, according to the allegations. Baltimore public defender Aneesa Khan fought returning the teen to the parent’s custody after a rescue, arguing that the family were not “sufficiently affirming” of Sage’s new gender identity, according to Blair.
That resulted in Sage being put into a juvenile facility for adolescent males, “where she was again sexually assaulted, exposed to drugs, and denied medical and mental health care,” according to the lawsuit.
Office of the Maryland Public Defender. (Diane F. Evartt (Maryland.gov))
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Sage then ran away from that facility but was allegedly found by yet another pedophile, who trafficked the teen to Texas, “where she was again raped, drugged, starved, and tortured until law enforcement in Texas rescued her and notified her mother who returned her to Virginia,” the lawsuit said.
Vernadette Broyles, an attorney with the Child & Parent Rights Campaign who represents that family, said that Sage has been forced to undergo “intensive in-patient and outpatient therapy to address the multiple incidents of extreme trauma caused by Defendants’ acts and omissions,” adding that the teen also suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Natasha M. Dartigue, the top public defender in Maryland, defended Khan’s actions, telling the Washington Examiner that the attorney had “appropriately represented her client in accordance with her legal, ethical, and professional obligations.”
Dartigue’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News Request for comment.
The case has caught the attention of Virginia’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who released new guidance aimed at mitigating school policies that contributed to Sage’s case.
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“Sage’s tragic story demonstrates the importance of parental involvement,” a Youngkin spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. “For Sage and students, parents and teachers across the Commonwealth, the governor will continue to empower parents and ensure the privacy, dignity, and respect of all students with the model policies.”
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
The Appomattox County Public School District did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.
Meanwhile, Blair told the Washington Examiner that Sage “doesn’t remember a lot of it because of the trauma” and that managing her PTSD will be challenging.
“That doesn’t mean she won’t have a happy life, but she will always struggle with flashbacks of horrible, horrible memories,” Blair said. “But I will just love her through them all.”
Blair said the family are taking things “a day at a time,” adding that she is “looking forward to a brighter future” for Sage.