GREAT NECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Seven students at Great Neck North High School have been arrested, but now some of them say they are being victimized twice.
They’re blaming it on a set-up by the district attorney, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
The accused students from the elite school fought back on Wednesday, claiming they have already paid the price — for months answering questions from school administrators and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. They had their privileges revoked and served suspensions, but now claim they are victims of broken promises, that investigators allegedly led them to believe if students cooperated, they would face no further repercussions from the cheating scandal.
Attorney Robert Gallo represents one student who received a whopping 2210 out of a perfect 2400 on his SAT exam.
“There was clearly an investigation with consequence and certainly the student that I represent went on with his life with the supposition that this matter was behind him,” Gallo said of his client, who is now in college.
Some defense attorneys maintain the students are victims of “overeager and publicity minded” prosecutors who made the arrests now to capitalize on Saturday’s national SAT exam.
Investigators, however, refute that, saying the case was extremely complicated, involving handwriting, photographs, proctors, parents, admissions from the students themselves and test scores which they say came from the brainiac Sam Eshaghoff, who allegedly accepted as much as $2,500 a test to bring in close to perfect scores, catapulting them into a college of their dreams.
“I graduated Great Neck North High School. I know a lot of the kids involved and I just feel like … just ‘cause this is a town with such high expectations I feel like they really want to set an example out of this town. Yes, unfairly,” Perry Landsman said.
“I feel a lot of kids feeling pressure of getting into the best colleges they can. The parents are just killing them,” student Daniel Mahfar said.
Diane Rein is using the scandal as a teaching point.
“Values start at home. I think it’s important to teach your children to work hard and do their best even if it’s not a top grade,” Rein said.
Prosecutors said investigations are underway into whether SAT cheating occurred at other Nassau high schools, and whether Eshaghoff took tests for students at other schools.
The students are due back in court at the end of October with their parents and attorneys. They want all criminal charges dropped.
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