Toscanos: Suspect in attack developed an ‘unsettling interest’ in family

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported that Claire Ogilvie was a Semester at Sea employee. Ogilvie paid to take part in the voyage as a student. The story has been corrected.


Virginia House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) speaks during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond on Feb. 19. (Steve Helber/AP)

The woman accused of attacking the wife of Virginia’s House minority leader Monday night was a family friend who “developed an unsettling interest” in the delegate’s family, a statement released Thursday on behalf of the Toscano family said.

Claire Kennedy Ogilvie, 35, was arrested and charged with burglary, abduction and malicious wounding Tuesday, police said, after an attack that left Nancy Tramontin, the wife of Del. David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville), injured but not unconscious. Ogilvie is being held without bond at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Toscano and Tramontin met Ogilvie on a 2010 Semester at Sea program, the statement said, at which the delegate was teaching a class. Ogilvie tutored the Toscanos’ son, Matthew, on the trip, and she became friends with the family. When she moved to Charlottesville the next year, according to the statement, Tramontin helped her settle in, “including her in family holidays and community events, generally trying to welcome her to the community.”

But by 2012, Tramontin “became concerned that Ms. Ogilvie had developed an unsettling interest in the Toscano family,” the statement adds. “The family reduced their contact, beginning in the early summer, and saw her for the last time in fall 2012. Before the attack, Nancy and the Toscanos had not seen Ms. Ogilvie in over a year.”

Toscano taught sociology in the fall 2010 Semester at Sea program sponsored by the University of Virginia, according to the Semester at Sea’s Web site, and is scheduled to take part again this summer. Ogilvie was a “Lifelong Learner,” which means she paid to take part in the voyage as a non-undergraduate student.

Neither Toscano nor his son was home at the time of the alleged attack. In an earlier statement, Toscano said he returned to Charlottesville from Richmond upon learning of it and took his wife to the hospital. She was released Tuesday.

“It was an odd thing, because it all happened on Monday evening and night, and none of us on the street — and this is a pretty close neighborhood — but none of us knew that this was happening until it came out on Tuesday,” said Phyllis Renick, a neighbor of the Toscanos. “Nancy Tramontin is a really great person, and I’m sorry that she got mixed up in something like that.”

Ogilvie, a former lawyer, teaches at William Monroe High School in Greene County, near Charlottesville. She has been suspended from her duties because of the charges, school officials said.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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