11 of 12 found guilty in APS cheating trial - CBS46 News

11 of 12 found guilty in APS cheating trial

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Guilty verdicts were reached for 11 of the 12 defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools CRCT cheating trial. Dessa Curb was the only defendant found not guilty on all charges. 

Listed below are the 12 educators that went to trial and what charges they were found guilty, or not guilty of:

Michael Pitts
School Resource Team Executive Director, SRT-2
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • Influencing witnesses - Guilty
Tamara Cotman
School Resource Team Executive Director, SRT-4
  • Racketeering - Guilty
Sharon Davis-Williams
School Resource Team, SRT-1
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements (2 counts) - Not Guilty
  • False swearing - Not Guilty
Donald Bullock
Testing Coordinator, Collier Heights Elementary
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements & writings (3 counts) Not Guilty, Guilty, Guilty
  • False swearing - Guilty
Theresia Copeland
Testing Coordinator, Benteen Elementary
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • Theft by taking - Not Guilty
  • False statements & writing (2 counts) Guilty, Guilty
Tabeeka Jordan
Assistant Principal, Deerwood Elementary
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements and writings - Not Guilty
  • Theft by taking - Not Guilty
Dana Evans
Principal, Dobbs Elementary School
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements & writings (4 counts) - Not Guilty, Not Guilty, Not Guilty, Guilty
Angela Williamson
Teacher, Dobbs Elementary
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements & writings (2 counts) - Guilty, Guilty
  • False swearing (2 counts) - Guilty, Guilty
Dessa Curb
Teacher/School Improvement Specialist, Dobbs Elementary
  • Racketeering - Not Guilty
  • False statements & writings (2 counts) - Not Guilty, Not Guilty
Shani Robinson
Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements & writings - Guilty
Pamela Cleveland
Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements and writings (2 counts) - Guilty, Guilty
Diane Buckner-Webb
Teacher, Dunbar Elementary School
  • Racketeering - Guilty
  • False statements & writings (2 counts) - Guilty, Guilty
All of these educators have been accused of racketeering, in addition to charges ranging from theft by taking to making false statements.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed issued the following statement after the verdict Wednesday afternoon:

“The APS cheating scandal marked one of the darkest periods in the life of our city. I am hopeful that with the jury's verdict today, we can finally close this chapter and move forward with the education and development of our young people. I want to thank Judge Baxter and the Court for their service.”

Unlike 21 others, the 12 educators on trial Wednesday did not take plea deals. Now their fates are sealed.

"They have made their bed, and they're going to have to lie in it," Judge Jerry Baxter said as he sent most of the educators directly to jail. Ten of the 11 educators found guilty were booked into the Fulton County jail. The men were taken to the jail in northwest Atlanta, while the women were taken to the South Jail Annex for women in Union City.

Robinson was the only educator found guilty who was not immediately taken to jail due to her pregnancy.

According to a spokesperson with Fulton County police, the 10 educators who were taken to jail Wednesday were all processed as any other inmate would be, including being searched, fingerprinted, given a medical screening, having their booking photograph taken and given inmate uniforms.

A total of 35 educators were indicted in March of 2013. Prosecutors said they conspired to cheat or concealed cheating to boost test scores for financial gain.

The case, which grabbed national headlines, stemmed from a 2009 investigation that revealed system wide cheating on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test. The test, which was issued to students in the APS system, measured student aptitude statewide.

District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. called the verdicts a victory for children.

 “When we indicted this case our goal was not to make a spectacle of the Atlanta Public School system. It was our attempt to encourage the people in our community to stop and take an honest look at what was happening in our schools and how changing test scores was ultimately harming our children,” says Howard. “We stand here today proud of our efforts, proud that we embarked upon a journey of truth, regardless of how long or arduous the task. We are certain today that our work has not been in vain.”

Fulton County prosecutors said the cheating began under the leadership of former superintendent Doctor Beverly Hall.

Hall became superintendent in 1999 and submitted her resignation letter in 2010 after cheating allegations surfaced. She officially stepped down in June of 2011. 

Hall had Stage 4 cancer and never made it to trial. She died on March 2.

Atlanta Board of Education Statement

This has been a sad and tragic chapter for Atlanta Public Schools that has now come to a close. It has been a painful time for our students, families, employees and the City.

However, since Day One 2015, APS has remained focused on the students under the new student-centered Superintendent, Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen, and the new leadership in the Atlanta Board of Education. Reforms began almost three years ago and additional ones have been created under this new leadership to make sure something like this never happens again. Challenges remain, for sure, but we are making progress every day and there is great reason to be optimistic.

Dr. Carstarphen and the school board continue to work together to create a new culture at APS, that is a caring one of trust and collaboration where every student graduates ready for college and career. Last fall, the district established a new vision of a high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators inspire, families engage and the community trusts the system. The district remains dedicated to always putting the needs of our students first.

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