Georgetown Sued by Student Embroiled in Admissions Scandal

WASHINGTON (CN) – A week after his father pleaded guilty in the national college admissions scandal, a Georgetown undergraduate brought a federal complaint Wednesday to have the school pay him damages.

California businessman Stephen Semprevivo departs federal court on May 7, 2019, in Boston, after pleading guilty to charges that he bribed the Georgetown tennis coach to get his son admitted to the school. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Adam Semprevivo just completed his junior year at Georgetown with a 3.18 GPA and is the son of the third parent to plead guilty in the vast admissions scheme that also swept up actresses Felicty Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

As part of a May 7 plea, Stephen Semprevivo admitted to paying $400,000 so that Adam would be designated as an athletic recruit, giving the teen a less rigorous academic standard to hurdle for admission.

Former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst has pleaded not guilty to accepting $2.7 million in such bribes from at least a dozen families, receiving the money allegedly by way of a third-party consultant.

In Wednesday’s complaint meanwhile Adam Semprevivo says he could face expulsion or other sanctions from Georgetown for conduct that was committed without his knowledge when he was a minor.

The criminal proceedings are underway in Boston — with dozens of parents, coaches and admissions officials implicated — but Adam Semprevivo brought his civil suit in Georgetown’s district of Washington. The North Hollywood student is represented by Washington attorney Mark Zaid as well as by the firm Kenner & Greenfield in Encino.

Semprevivo admits that he worked on his college applications with the scheme’s admitted architect William Singer, but he also denies that Singer had anything to do with his weighted high school GPA of 4.067 or his 1980 SAT score.

Though Semprevivo did not learn about the problems with his admission until this past March when his father was indicted, he says Georgetown should have been able to figure it out back in 2017.

It was that year, according to the complaint, that Georgetown “became aware of irregularities in Coach Ernst’s recruitment practices and conducted an internal investigation.”

The school placed Ernst on leave in December 2017 and ousted him altogether in 2018 after determining that he “had violated [Georgetown’s] rules concerning admission,” the complaint states.

Now that the school has taken three years of his tuition payments, Semprevivo says it seeks to discipline him for misstatements in his application.

Alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment, Semprevivo wants an injunction to head off the disciplinary proceedings and keep his academic credits intact.

In addition to compensation for any losses that Georgetown’s actions may cause him, Semprevivo wants the school on board if he needs his credits transferred to another university.

Georgetown has a policy of not commenting on the pending litigation, but Georgetown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak revealed in an interview that the school notified two students today of their dismissal from the university due to misrepresentation or falsified claims in their applications.

“Each student case was addressed individually and each student was given multiple opportunities to respond and provide information to the University,” Dubyak said.

Dubyak would not confirm whether Semprevivo is one of the two students. As for Ernst, she noted that the university did not become aware of the coach’s criminal activity until his March indictment.

Semprevivo’s attorneys have not responded to requests for comment.

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