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Georgetown student sues school over U.S. college admissions bribery scandal

(Reuters) – A Georgetown University undergraduate whose father pleaded guilty to a bribery-related charge in the U.S. college admissions scandal sued the school on Wednesday to block it from expelling him or revoking his academic credits.

Adam Semprevivo, 21, a psychology major who just completed his junior year, accused Georgetown of trying to punish him without due process, including by refusing to let him transfer to another school with his credits intact.

“It has been quite clear after Adam began participating in the investigation that there would be a predetermined result,” his lawyer David Kenner said in a phone interview. “He’s a kid without a home when it comes to college.”

Georgetown did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The complaint was filed in the federal court in Washington, D.C. eight days after Semprevivo’s father, Los Angeles executive Stephen Semprevivo, pleaded guilty in Boston to conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

Prosecutors said the father paid $400,000 to William “Rick” Singer, the California consultant at the center of the scandal, to help his son enter Georgetown as a tennis recruit.

Fifty people have been accused of wrongdoing in the scandal, where wealthy parents paid five- and six-figure sums to win admission for their children at prestigious American colleges.

Stephen Semprevivo was the third parent to plead guilty. Another parent, actress Felicity Huffman, pleaded guilty on Monday.

Prosecutors said Adam Semprevivo was among at least 12 students who former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst designated as tennis recruits from 2012 to 2018, in exchange for Ernst’s accepting more than $2.7 million of bribes from Singer.

Ernst left Georgetown in 2018. He pleaded not guilty in March to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

Semprevivo, who spent the last semester studying abroad in Prague, said he received “no assistance” from Singer on his high school grades or SAT college entrance exam, and was unaware of his father’s actions until February.

He also said his high school transcripts showed his involvement on the school basketball team, but said nothing about tennis.

Semprevivo said he never played tennis at Georgetown, where he has a 3.18 grade point average, but the school has accepted more than $200,000 in tuition for him, including more than $100,000 after it began investigating Ernst.

“He has done the course work. He has done it satisfactorily. He has done no harm to Georgetown from being a student,” Kenner said. “To take the credits away would essentially be a theft of his tuition.”

The case is Semprevivo v Georgetown University, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 19-01400.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Bill Berkrot

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