PENSACOLA, Fla – A Florida high school student accused of rigging her school’s election will be charged as an adult.
Emily Grover and her mother Laura Carroll, vice-principal of Bellview Elementary School, were arrested in March after authorities said the duo used Carroll’s special access to the district’s student data system to vote hundreds of fraudulent votes for Grover in the Homecoming Queen election at Tate High. School.
Grover was arrested when she was 17. She turned 18 on April 16.
“This is not unusual with young people of this age. Minors (the court) cannot do anything or supervise them after they reach the age of 18. So it makes more sense to transfer them to adult court. where they can be supervised effectively, ”said Assistant State Attorney John Molchan.
Although Grover is indicted as an adult, the court still has the capacity to impose juvenile penalties.
March 16:Florida deputy director and daughter arrested in homecoming queen vote scandal
Carroll remains free on a $ 6,000 bond, and Grover is free on a $ 2,000 bond. Prosecutors said the mother and daughter each face a maximum sentence of 16 years.
Grover and Carroll’s next court date is May 14 for their arraignment.
They are each responsible for:
- Offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices (third degree crime)
- Illegal use of a two-way communication device (third degree crime)
- Criminal use of personally identifiable information (third degree crime)
- Conspiracy to commit these offenses (first degree offense)
In October 2020, the Escambia County School District election software application reported hundreds of votes in the return election as fraudulent, leading the district to contact the Law Enforcement Department. from Florida. An investigation found that the two ultimately cast 246 fraudulent votes on two devices, authorities said.
At around the same time, the district student council coordinator was informed that Grover allegedly spoke of using his mother’s FOCUS account with district-wide access to vote, according to arrest warrants. FOCUS is the student data system where parents, teachers and students can access information such as grades and health records.
The investigation also revealed that Grover openly used his mother’s account to access the profiles of other students. Law enforcement officials took nine statements from students and a teacher who said they heard Grover talk about accessing the account or watching her log in for four years.
FDLE spokeswoman Jessica Cary said the investigation into the case was still ongoing.
Grover was ultimately kicked out of Tate High School, according to her arrest warrant. Carroll was suspended from her post after her arrest. School officials declined to say whether they had since fired Carroll, citing the ongoing lawsuit.
Dismissals of district employees must be done before the school board. However, employees are referenced by identification numbers and not by their names when this occurs.
Contribute: The Associated Press