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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – A Florida teenager accused of rigging a return queen election with her mother is being charged as an adult, prosecutors have said.
Emily Rose Grover was still 17 when she was arrested in March. She turned 18 in April and the Escambia County District Attorney’s Office confirmed on Tuesday that Grover would stand trial as an adult.
Grover and his mother, Laura Rose Carroll, 50, face multiple felony charges following the October come-home vote at Tate High School in Pensacola.
While employed as a vice-principal at Bellview Elementary School in the same county, Carroll accessed the school district’s internal system to fraudulently vote for her daughter to win, officials said. The investigation began in November when the Escambia County School District reported unauthorized access to hundreds of student accounts, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Investigators found that in October, hundreds of back-to-school court votes were flagged as fraudulent, according to the press release. The survey revealed that there were 117 votes from the same IP address in a short period of time.
It was then that investigators found evidence of unauthorized access to Carroll’s cell phone system and computers in her home. There were 246 votes cast for the return home court from these devices.
Several Tate students told investigators that Grover described using access to his mother’s system or looking at his mother’s access records for years, according to the report. Investigators learned that as of August 2019, Carroll’s account had access to 372 high school records and 339 of them were Tate students.
Investigators said Carroll had access to the school board’s program at the district level. System users are required to change their passwords every 45 days, and Carroll’s annual training on “responsible use of technology guidelines by staff” was up to date, the agency said.
Officials confirmed Carroll was suspended from her job, but it was not immediately clear whether she was fired. Authorities said Grover was kicked out of Tate High School.
Each is charged with offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices; illegal use of a two-way communication device; criminal use of personally identifiable information and conspiracy to commit these offenses.
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.