In a story right out of a Lifetime movie, a mother and daughter are now facing up to 16 YEARS in prison in exchange for a homecoming crown. If ever there was a bad trade, this is it.
Back in October, 17-year-old Emily Rose Grover was crowned homecoming queen at Tate High in Pensacola, Florida.
However, her reign quickly endeth amidst allegations that the vote had been rigged. By her and her mother.
And somebody REALLY wanted that crown, apparently.
The Escambia County School District contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in November after discovering “unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts.”
Election Runner, the software program used to count the votes, flagged dozens of votes as fraudulent and alerted the school district.
Additionally, multiple students reported that Emily bragged about using her mom’s faculty account to cast votes. (And this girl obviously never listens to true crime podcasts, just sayin’)
According to CNN, mom Laura Rose Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School in Pensacola, along with her side-kick Emily, used her credentials to hack into Tate High students’ computer records and cast 246 fake votes in favor of her daughter.
And this is a prime example of how NOT to parent.
During a 4-month long investigation, authorities found 117 votes came from the same IP address and were traced back to Carroll. Additionally, another 129 votes were also linked to Carroll’s cell phone and home computers.
The FDLE arrested both Emily and her mother in March.
The charges include “offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices; unlawful use of a two-way communications device; criminal use of personally identifiable information; and conspiracy to commit these offenses.”
Prosecutors announced this week that Emily (who turned 18 in April) will be tried as an adult, which comes with a maximum sentence of 16 years.
A high price to pay for a plastic crown.
Initially, after the rigging, Emily was placed on 10 days suspension from school. According to an affidavit obtained by ABC News, she emailed the district superintendent admitting she used her mom’s account but did not confess to fixing the homecoming queen contest.
“I have never been in trouble but I was recently suspended for 10 days for unauthorized use of technology, for using my mom’s password and looking at information I should not have seen in FOCUS. Of everything I’ve done wrong, ignorance is hurting me most. I 100% knew it was wrong and would do anything to undo it but I had no idea this much trouble could come from this.'”
Whelp, she’s in trouble now.
Leniency was not granted. She was expelled from the school in December. Her mother is currently suspended from her job.
Investigators also discovered that this was not an isolated incident.
Both students and teachers at the high school stated that Emily has been using her mother’s log-in for years.
Arrest documents reveal one student saying:
“She looks up all of our group of friends’ grades and makes comments about how she can find our test scores all the time.”
Another student backed up the claim stating:
“I recall times that she logged onto her mom’s FOCUS account and openly shared information, grades, schedules, etc., with others. She did not seem like logging in was a big deal and was very comfortable with doing so.”
And as for mommy dearest? She was well aware of what was going on. She received a notification whenever her daughter signed into her account.
Over the course of 2 years (since August 2019), Carroll’s FOCUS account accessed 372 high school records. Of those 339 were Tate High School students.
The student records contain confidential information including grades, attendance, disciplinary records, medical history, birth date, and identification numbers.
Both mother and daughter have been released from the Escambia County Jail on bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned in First Judicial Circuit Court in Pensacola on May 14.
Their defense attorney and close family friend, Randall Etheridge, told ABC News that the duo is pleading not guilty. He has also requested a jury trial.
He says of his clients:
“These are good people. They’re not crazy as some people are trying to depict them. They’re basically decent people.”
Basically. There’s a ringing endorsement.
The reality is, Carroll isn’t the first parent to go to extreme lengths to see her daughter succeed. Remember the college admissions scandal? Or the mom that beat up another student? Nor will she likely be the last. And Emily isn’t the first teenager to do something really stupid in the name of popularity.
Unfortunately, however, this choice has lasting and detrimental consequences. And one night of glory? Has turned into a lifetime of regret.