Appeals court denies re-hearing in Gloucester transgender bathroom case; U.S. Supreme Court could be next

A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Gloucester School Board’s request for a full rehearing in the long-running case of a lawsuit filed by a transgender student.

The next step could be the U.S. Supreme Court — where the case had once been destined before the high court sent it back to lower courts in 2017. The decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wasn’t unexpected: Requests to have all 15 judges hear a case are rarely successful, granted less than 1% of the time.

In August 2019, a Norfolk federal judge ruled that the School Board’s policy — limiting bathroom usage at the schools to students “with corresponding biological genders” — violated transgender student Gavin Grimm’s constitutional rights and federal legal protections. Last month, a three-judge panel for the 4th Circuit voted 2-1 to uphold Wright Allen’s ruling, likening the board’s policy to illegal racial segregation in public accommodations.

The Gloucester School Board filed a petition Sept. 9 asking that all 15 judges on the appellate court — from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina — hear the case “en banc.”

But none of the 15 judges wanted to do that. That included Judge Paul V. Niemeyer, who sided with the School Board in last month’s 2-1 ruling. Niemeyer wrote Tuesday that the case “merits” a rehearing “under every applicable criterion,” but that the outcome wouldn’t change.

“There is no reason to conclude that this court, even though en banc, will change its mind,” Niemeyer wrote.

“It would, I believe, be the more efficient course” for the Gloucester School Board to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, he wrote. “The issues in this case certainly merit its doing so.”

Niemeyer asserted that biological and anatomical differences between people are “at the root of why restrooms are generally separated on the basis of sex.” Grimm, he wrote was not treated differently from other transgender students.

“In stepping past these applicable legal principles, this court’s opinion simply advances policy preferences, which, of course, are for Congress to define, not our court,” Niemeyer wrote.

Another judge on the three-judge panel, James Wynn, wrote against a rehearing on a different ground — that the courts have gotten it right so far.

“The rights guaranteed by our Constitution enshrine this country’s most fundamental values and inviolable principles designed to protect individuals and minorities against majoritarian politics,” he wrote.

“The district court below delivered on this promise by holding that under our laws, the Board unlawfully discriminated against Grimm,” Wynn added.

Grimm — who identifies as a male — began using the boys’ room at Gloucester High School in late 2014. But after parents objected to the practice, the board soon adopted a policy barring him from doing so.

Grimm and the ACLU sued the School Board in 2015, asserting that the policy turned him into an outcast and violated both his constitutional rights and federal law.

David Corrigan and Gene Schaerr, outside attorneys

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Court denies Gloucester School Board’s effort to appeal ruling declaring bathroom ban unconsitutional in Grimm case

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — An effort by the Gloucester County School Board to appeal a ruling declaring its bathroom policy for transgender students unconstitutional has been denied.

Earlier this month, the school board filed a petition asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear its case against former student Gavin Grimm.

That request was denied, according to a tweet from the ACLU of Virginia.

“Discrimination against trans students is discrimination on the basis of sex and it’s illegal. Full stop,” the ACLU tweeted.

The school board announced Sept. 9 it had requested an en banc review in the Richmond-based United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The request would have meant the full circuit court of appeals — all the judges — would have heard the case and could potentially overturned the previous ruling by a three-judge panel.

The three-judge panel had ruled that the school division’s requirements that Grimm use restrooms for his biological sex, female, or private bathrooms violated his rights. Grimm began transitioning from female to male while at Gloucester High School. In 2016, as a senior in high school, he legally changed his sex to male via state court order and on his birth certificate.

The panel’s decision upheld a previous one from a federal judge in Norfolk. That judge ruled in 2019 that Grimm’s rights were violated under the Constitution’s equal protection clause as well as under Title IX, a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.


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More Charges For Man In Gloucester Twp. Bathroom Spying Case: PD

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ — A man accused of secretly recording girls at a middle school in Gloucester Township using the bathroom now faces additional charges, authorities announced on Thursday.

Gregory Mahley, 51 of West Deptford, was arrested last week after police say he installed a secret mirror in a girls’ bathroom at Glen Landing Middle School.

Mahley was an eight-year employee of Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc., located in Westville. The company was contracted by the Gloucester Township Board of Education to perform Heating Ventilation-Air Conditioning (HVAC) services at the school, according to police. Read more here: Man Used Mirror To Spy On Bathroom In Gloucester Township School: PD

Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer and Gloucester Township Police Chief David Harkins said he installed mirrors onto the back of bathroom stall doors that allowed him to secretly record girls using the restroom through an air conditioning vent.

Once the mirrors were discovered, school officials found Mahley inside the utility closet where he recorded the videos, police said. During the investigation, police seized multiple devices from Mahley’s West Deptford home and his work vehicle.

Detectives found videos of six children and one adult on the tablet, according to authorities. West Deptford police have also been looking into the possibility that he engaged in a similar scheme in West Deptford, but no charges have been filed related to that are as of Thursday. Read more here: Man Accused Of Bathroom Spying Did Work In West Deptford: Police

Mahley was charged with seven counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (manufacturing of child pornography), eight counts of third-degree invasion of privacy, and seven counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child pornography).

Anyone who has information regarding Mahley is asked to call Camden County Det. Briana Hagan at 609-508-3333 or Gloucester Township Police Det. Brian Farrell at 856-228-4500. Tips can also be emailed to [email protected]

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HVAC worker arrested after mirrors found in Gloucester Township school bathroom: Police

An HVAC employee is facing charges after authorities made a strange discovery inside the girl’s bathroom of a Camden County, New Jersey school this week.

HVAC employee arrested after mirrors found in Gloucester Township school bathroom: Police

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Officials at Glen Landing Middle School say on September 9 they found mirrors installed on the interior doors of the stalls of one of their bathrooms.

Police say school officials became suspicious and suspected someone could be using the mirrors to peer into the stalls from an air conditioning vent above.

According to the Gloucester Township Police Department, Gregory Mahley, 51, of West Deptford, is being charged with endangering the welfare of a child, invasion of privacy, and possession of child pornography.

Mahley was an eight-year employee of Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc., located in Westville. The company was contracted by the Gloucester Township Board of Education to perform Heating-Ventilation-Air Conditioning services at the school.

It’s still unclear how long the mirrors were installed before they were discovered.

During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, police say that electronic devices were recovered and some students may have been recorded.

“I am very disturbed to learn of criminal charges filed today against an employee of an outside contractor who was performing HVAC work at Glen Landing Middle School. Upon notification of suspicious behavior, the school’s administration immediately contacted local law enforcement authorities,” said Superintendent John Bilodeau in a statement.

Police are urging anyone who thinks they may be a victim to contact the Gloucester Township Police Department at 856-228-4500.

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Man Used Mirror To Spy On Bathroom In Gloucester Twp. School: PD

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ — A man who recently performed HVAC work at Glen Landing Middle School in Gloucester Township has been arrested after police say he installed a secret mirror in a girls’ bathroom.

The mirrors were discovered by staff at the school on Wednesday, one day after students in the Gloucester Township K-8 district went back to school.

They had become suspicious that someone was peering through an air conditioning vent located overtop of the bathroom stalls and contacted Gloucester Township police, police said.

Police said they arrested 51-year-old Gregory Mahley, of West Deptford, in connection with the incident.

Mahley was an eight-year employee of Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc., located in Westville. The company was contracted by the Gloucester Township Board of Education to perform HeatingVentilation-Air Conditioning (HVAC) services at the school, according to police.

After the incident, the Board of Education ordered a full inspection of all schools and facilities that Mahley may have had access to. As of Thursday, no other suspicious activities have been uncovered, police said.

“I am very disturbed to learn of criminal charges filed today against an employee of an outside contractor who was performing HVAC work at Glen Landing Middle School,” Gloucester Township Superintendent of Schools John Bilodeau said. “Upon notification of suspicious behavior, the school’s administration immediately contacted local law enforcement authorities. The investigation is now with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the Gloucester Township

Police Department. The district has been instructed, due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, not to comment further at this time. The Gloucester Township Public School District remains committed to providing a healthy and safe learning environment to its students and staff at all times.”

Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc. has been cooperating with the investigation, police said. The company performs non-residential, commercial HVAC services only. Detectives are continuing to contact other businesses and governmental entities for whom Mahley may have worked.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Mahley, or has additional information that could aid this investigation, is asked to call the Gloucester Township Police Department at 856-228-4500 or email [email protected]

You may also call the GTPD Anonymous Tip Line at 856-842-5560, or send an anonymous tip by texting the keyword “TIP GLOTWPPD” and your message to 888777. You may also click here to leave an anonymous tip: https://local.nixle.com/tip.alert/5170177.

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Gloucester School Board appeals recent ruling declaring bathroom ban unconstitutional in Gavin Grimm case

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — In another development in a yearslong battle over bathroom rights for transgender students, the Gloucester County School Board has made an appeal in court over a ruling that said its transgender bathroom ban was unconstitutional.

The school board announced Wednesday it was appealing a previous court ruling that said the division had discriminated against a transgender male student, Gavin Grimm.

The board has requested an en banc review in the Richmond-based United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. That means the full circuit court of appeals — all the judges — could hear the case and could potentially overturn the previous ruling by a three-judge panel.

“We await that court’s further guidance,” the school wrote.

The last ruling, considered a victory for transgender rights advocates, as well as Grimm, was made late last month.

The panel determined that Gloucester’s requirement that Grimm use restrooms corresponding with his biological sex — the female bathrooms — or private bathrooms violated his rights when he was in school five years ago.

The three-judge panel with the appeals court wrote that the school board sent Grimm “to special bathrooms that might as well have said ‘Gavin’ on the sign.”

The panel’s decision upheld a previous one from a federal judge in Norfolk. That judge ruled in 2019 that Grimm’s rights were violated under the Constitution’s equal protection clause as well as under Title IX, a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Grimm began transitioning from female to male while attending school at Gloucester High School.

He has chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy. In 2016, as a senior in high school, he legally changed his sex to male via state court order and on his birth certificate.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates.


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