Former Tate reunion queen plans to sue after election scandal: NorthEscambia.com

Emily Grover, who has been accused of rigging her election as the 2020 Tate High School homecoming queen, has filed a notice saying she intends to sue the Escambia County School District and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Grover claims her civil rights were violated and she suffered emotional distress in a case that made international headlines.

Grover and his mother, Laura Rosa Carroll, Emily Rose Grover, were charged by the FDLE with one count each of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices ( a third degree felony), unlawful use of a two-way communication (a third degree felony), criminal use of personally identifiable information (a third degree felony), and conspiracy to commit these offenses (a first degree misdemeanor).

Grover was kicked out of Tate following the incident. In January 2022, Grover successfully completed a pre-trial diversion program which resulted in the charges against her being dismissed in March 2022.

In a letter from his lawyer, Grover claims that an FDLE investigator did not speak only to the company that organized the election to verify the information or establish the chain of evidence to ensure that they had not not been tampered with or altered.

Grover’s attorney, Marie Mattox, told our WEAR 3 press partners that Grover had done nothing criminal.

“It’s a dark cloud that travels with Emily wherever she goes,” Mattox said.

Mattox said that due to the charges, Grover’s acceptance to college was rescinded, costing him a full scholarship.

“She needs to be able to start her life over without this wreckage from the past and be able to live the normal life that she intended to live,” Mattox said.

The investigation began in November 2020 when the Escambia County School District contacted FDLE to report unauthorized access to hundreds of student accounts. Their investigation revealed that Carroll, vice-principal at Bellview Elementary School, and her daughter Grover, a student at Tate High School, had accessed students’ FOCUS accounts. Carroll had district-level access to the school board’s FOCUS program, which is the school district’s student information system. FOCUS users are required to change their passwords every 45 days and Carroll’s annual training for “responsible staff use of technology guidelines” was up to date.

In October 2020, hundreds of votes for Tate High School’s Homecoming Court vote were flagged as fraudulent, with 117 votes coming from the same IP address in a short time. FDLE said officers uncovered evidence of unauthorized access to FOCUS tied to Carroll’s cell phone as well as computers associated with their residence, with a total of 246 votes cast for the reunion court. Several students have reported that Grover described using his mother’s FOCUS account to vote. The investigation also revealed that as of August 2019, Carroll’s FOCUS account had accessed 372 high school records, 339 of which were for students at Tate High School.

In court this week, Carroll was given a deadline to work out a plea deal; otherwise, his trial is scheduled to begin on September 19.

Photo by NorthEscambia.com.

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