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Crime News

Vice Principal Allegedly Rigged Homecoming Queen Election In Favor Of Teen Daughter

Florida educator Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her 17-year-old daughter allegedly casted hundreds of phony votes for a homecoming queen contest at Tate High School in Pensacola, state authorities said.

By Dorian Geiger
Vice Principal Accused Of Rigging Homecoming Election

A Florida educator is accused of fixing the outcome of a high school homecoming election to boost her teenage daughter’s prospects of winning.

Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her 17-year-old daughter were arrested Monday in Pensacola on several fraud-related charges after allegedly hacking into the school accounts of hundreds of Tate High School students to fudge the results of the annual Homecoming Court elections in October, officials announced on Monday. 

The mother-daughter pair were charged with one count each of 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.

Investigators were tipped off to alleged vote-rigging after Escambia County School District officials contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in November regarding the “unauthorized access” of hundreds of student accounts.

In October, hundreds of votes logged for the homecoming vote were deemed “fraudulent.” At least 117 votes had originated from the same IP address within a brief time frame, authorities said. Those votes — and a total of nearly 250 manipulated homecoming ballots — were allegedly traced back to Carroll and Grover through their electronic devices.

Carroll, who serves as an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, located in the same district, had “district level access” to Escambia County’s student information database, known as “FOCUS,” officials stated.

“Agents uncovered evidence of unauthorized access to FOCUS linked to Carroll’s cell phone as well as computers associated with their residence, with a total of 246 votes cast for the Homecoming Court,” the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement Monday.

Investigators suspect that Carroll allowed her daughter, who Oxygen.com isn't naming because of her age, to log into the district system where she viewed countless student portfolios, including exam scores, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

At least nine students told investigators in written statements that the teen openly discussed logging onto her mother’s FOCUS account for several years, according to arrest warrants in the case.

Carroll was taken into custody and booked into the Escambia County Jail on a $8,500 bond, according to online jail records. She was released on March 15. Her daughter is being held at a county juvenile detention center.

It’s unclear if the Florida mother and daughter have retained legal representation.

Carroll was removed from her position, Escambia County School District officials confirmed with Oxygen.com. They declined to comment further on the pending charge.

The Office of the State Attorney is expected to oversee prosecution on the case.