A Virginia mother is suing a school district and a public defender in the Baltimore, Maryland area due to her daughter being trafficked after the school failed to disclose her daughter's gender transition.
Michele Blair, mother of Sage, a young victim of human trafficking and sexual abuse, revealed to the Washington Examiner that she is filing a lawsuit with the Child & Parent Rights Campaign (CPRC) against the Appomattox County School Board and district staff for hiding her daughter's gender transition and systematic bullying at school.
The lawsuit states that the harassment and her daughter's confusion caused the girl to run away from home because she felt in imminent danger.
According to the mother's account, school staff encouraged Sage to identify as male and even use the boys' bathroom while her classmates harassed her and threatened to rape her.
Fed up with the harassment and threats, Sage ran away from home and became a victim of trafficking and abuse in different states, including Washington D.C., Maryland and Texas, where she was rescued by authorities and returned to her family.
"They stole my right to protect my daughter," Blair told 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."
According to Blair, her daughter suffered verbal, physical, and sexual harassment during her freshman year at Appomattox County High School in 2021. "Despite this, the school encouraged her to use the boys' bathroom."
The mother, according to the lawsuit, had informed the school that Sage had a history of mental health issues including depression, eating disorders, self-harm and hallucinations. Still, school officials decided to hide the teen's transition.
The lawsuit alleges that the school prevented Sage's parents from protecting their daughter — making decisions about her education and mental health — by concealing the gender transition.
A living hell and a failure within the system
Vernadette Broyles, Blair's attorney at the CPRC, told the Examiner that Sage, after fleeing, ran "into the arms of a waiting pedophile, who encounters her, rapes her, traffics her with two other men, and takes her across state lines into Washington, D.C., and then ultimately into Maryland."
That's where the second defendant, public defender Aneesa Khan, comes in, who according to the lawsuit should have ended Sage's hell but instead carried out a "series of acts aimed at depriving Mrs. Blair of custody of her daughter and keeping [Sage] in Maryland to be affirmed in a male identity."
According to the lawsuit, after being rescued by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, custody of Sage was assumed by the Baltimore juvenile court system at Khan's behest.
The public defender concluded that Sage's family did not "sufficiently" affirm their daughter's gender identity and therefore "concocts a fabricated story of abuse and neglect by the parents and convinces a judge to keep this child in custody," attorney Broyles said.
Later, according to the lawsuit, authorities committed Sage to a juvenile facility for adolescent boys "where she was again sexually assaulted, exposed to drugs, and denied medical and mental health care."
"This is a 100-pound girl, what do you think happens in this facility?" said Broyles.
Sage fled the center, ended up in Texas and was again a victim of sexual abuse and trafficking.
Sage eventually reunited with her family after Texas authorities rescued her.
Now the young woman is undergoing "intensive in-patient and outpatient therapy to address the multiple incidents of extreme trauma caused by Defendants’ acts and omissions."
Sage was also diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
Her case is already having repercussions at the national level, even reaching political spheres.
For example, Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin promised changes to the state's guidelines that will mitigate some of the regulations that led to Sage's experience, the Washington Examiner reported.