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16-Year-Old Orange High School Student Charged in Grade Changing Scandal

Katherine B. Carter Office of the County Prosecutor

Monday, June 23, 2014 • 10:20pm

NEWARK, NJ – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Orange Police Director Hakim Sims recently announced that a 16-year-old sophomore from Orange has been charged with unlawfully accessing a school computer system to change grades and attendance records.

The teenager, whose name is not being released because of his age, is charged with multiple counts of second degree computer theft for unlawfully accessing and altering data and with one count of hindering apprehension. 

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said the investigation is active and ongoing and additional charges and arrests are possible. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Orange Police Department Detective Bureau. 

The criminal investigation began when school officials notified the Orange Police Department that someone, who was not authorized, had gained access to the school’s computer system. The Orange Police Department notified the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

On Friday the 16-year-old was arrested and charged. He has since been released on his own recognizance. The case is expected to be handled in Family Court. 

The investigation at this time indicates that the boy changed grades and attendance records of multiple students by unlawfully using the password of a member of the staff without authorization.

In additional to the criminal charges, several students were disciplined administratively by the local district.

Acting Prosecutor Murray commended Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Freier of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit and Orange Police Sergeant Michael Tingolie for their work on this case.

These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty in a court of law or enter a guilty plea.

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