Legal proceedings have begun for the college admissions scandal that shocked the nation and rocked the world of higher education in recent weeks. Twelve people, including coaches, were arraigned in a Boston federal court on Monday.

Sophie Reardon and Perry Russom report at New England Cable News:

Coaches, Others Plead Not Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

A dozen athletic coaches, test administrators and others pleaded not guilty to participating in a nationwide college admissions scam.

The defendants arrested in the Operation Varsity Blues investigation were arraigned Monday on a charge of racketeering conspiracy in Boston’s federal court.

The Moakley Federal Courthouse has been the epicenter of the scandal, and Monday marked the largest gathering of defendants at the court at the same time in the historic case.

All 12 defendants entered a not guilty plea.

They include former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo and Wake Forest women’s volleyball coach Bill Ferguson.

An attorney for Ferguson told reporters outside the courthouse that his client is innocent and “does not belong in this indictment.”…

Other defendents were Igor Dvorskiy, director of West Hollywood Prepatory School; Martin Fox, president of Private Tennis Academy & Camp in Houston; Donna Heinel, senior associate athletic director at USC; Laura Janke, former assistant coach of women’s soccer at USC; Ali Khosroshahin, former head coach of women’s soccer at USC; Steven Masera, accountant and financial officer for Edge College and Career Network and Key Worldwide Foundation; Mikaela Sanford, employee at Edge College and Career Network and Key Worldwide Foundation; Jovan Vavic, former water polo coach At USC; and Niki Williams, test administrator for the College Board and ACT.

Joey Garrison of USA Today has more:

12 defendants in biggest-ever college admissions cheating scandal plead not guilty in Boston court

The 12 defendants were arraigned Monday before Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley as they made their first appearance in a federal court in Boston, where the nationwide case is being tried by the Justice Department.

One by one, the defendants and their attorneys stood up and were told their rights, beginning with Gordon Ernst, the former head tennis coach at Georgetown University, who is accused of taking more than $2.7 million in bribes to designate at least 12 recruits as tennis players including some who did not even play the sport.

“Not guilty,” each of them said individually when asked for their plea.

If they’re convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and 31/2 years of court supervision. While the case is pending, the defendants’ travel is restricted to within the United States, among other conditions. The judge set a status conference hearing for June 3.

Here’s a video report from ABC News:

In related news, the Harvard alumnus who allegedly took college-board exams in the place of students at a fee of $10,000 per test, is expected to plead guilty.

Minyvonne Burke reports at NBC News:

College admissions scandal: Accused test taker Mark Riddell to plead guilty

A Harvard alumnus accused of taking SAT and ACT tests for college-bound children of wealthy parents embroiled in a massive admissions cheating scandal is expected to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, court documents show.

Mark Riddell, a 2004 Harvard graduate, allegedly secretly took college board exams for students between 2012 and this past February. He was paid $10,000 per test, according to prosecutors.

He faces up to 20 years in prison, in addition to supervised release for three years and a $250,000 fine. But the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts said in a court filing that based on Riddell’s “prompt acceptance of personal responsibility” for the offenses alleged, prosecutors would recommend a lesser sentence.

This really does seem like a turning point. Public anger over this scandal suggests people will actually go to jail.

Featured image via YouTube.

 
 
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