NEWARK - An Orange High School sophomore is charged with computer theft for allegedly gaining access to his school computer system to change grades and attendance records.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Orange Police Director Hakim Sims say the 16-year-old 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 says investigators found that the teen changed the grades and attendance records of several students by using a staff member's password.
The district suspended about 35 students whose records were altered. Many maintained they knew nothing of the breach.
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Sophomore Tyler Taylor says he was happy to hear of the arrest, but that his problems are ongoing. "It doesn't really change anything," he says. "I'm still suspended and I still don't have a reason why."
Tyler's father, Kevin Taylor says the district has yet to produce evidence linking his son to the scandal. Tyler has been suspended for 10 days and banned from extracurricular activities next year. "I need some answers to these questions that the board of education still are not answering," he says.
The superintendent has not responded to questions about the arrest or the fate of the suspended students.
The 16-year-old suspect was arrested and charged on Friday and has since been released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors say they will handle the case in Family Court.
Fennelly says the incident is still ongoing and more charges and arrests are possible in the case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Orange Police Department Detective Bureau.