TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A former homecoming queen plans to sue the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and her former school district after she was arrested for allegedly rigging her school’s homecoming election with her mother, WEAR-TV reports.
According to the notice of intent, which was obtained by the news station, Emily Grover plans to sue the FDLE and Escambia County Public Schools for allegedly violating her civil rights.
Grover and her mother, 51-year-old Laura Carroll, were accused of fraudulently casting 246 votes to help Grover become homecoming queen at Tate High School in Oct. 2020.
According to court documents, Carroll, the former assistant principal at Belleview Elementary School, allegedly gave her daughter access to the school board’s student information system, where she was able to access student accounts and cast hundreds of votes for herself.
The FDLE claimed Grover even bragged to other students about committing the crime.
The mother and daughter were both arrested on 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 communications device, 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 charged as an adult and pleaded no contest to the charges. They were eventually dropped after she completed a supervised program, WEAR reported.
Now, Grover is saying she was falsely arrested and her civil rights were violated, according to the notice. Her attorney, Marie Mattox, maintains she did nothing criminal.
Following her arrest, Grover was expelled, her college acceptance was rescinded and she lost her full ride scholarship, Mattox said.
“This is a black cloud that is traveling with Emily everywhere she goes,” Mattox added. “She needs to be able to start her life over without this wreckage of the past and be able to live a normal life that she intended to live.”
Mattox said the homecoming election was overseen by a company called “Election Runner” and an FDLE investigator did not speak with anyone in the company to verify the claims.
“Number one she didn’t engage in any criminal activity,” Mattox told WEAR. “And number two, if their had been a thorough investigation conducted to do a forensic evaluation on any computers, then you would say Emily was not involved at all in casting any votes.”
Mattox said the FDLE and the school district have until mid-October to respond to their letter or a lawsuit will be filed.
The school district told WEAR it would not comment on pending litigation.