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Georgetown student sues to bar punishment in scandal

A Georgetown University student sued to block the school from punishing him for his father’s bribery of a tennis coach to obtain a “recruited” recommendation that helped him win admission to the prestigious college.

Adam Semprevivo is seeking a court order that would prevent the university from expelling him or imposing other sanctions. His father, Stephen Semprevivo, pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal last week and admitted he paid a $400,000 bribe to get his son into the Washington school after hiring admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer for help.

It was Singer who crafted the younger Semprevivo’s tennis achievement narrative, although high school transcripts reflected his participation in basketball, not tennis, according to the lawsuit. The university has since collected more than $200,000 in tuition and other fees from his family, Semprevivo claims.

“Despite the fact that these misrepresentations could have been easily verified and debunked before Georgetown formally admitted Semprevivo in April 2016, no one at Georgetown did so,” according to the complaint, which appears to be the first by a child of a parent swept up in the scandal.

The school is now employing an “arbitrary and capricious disciplinary process,” he said.

Georgetown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak said the university doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but provided a four-paragraph statement on the actions the institution has taken since finding out in 2017 there were irregularities in the credentials of two students who were being recruited to play tennis. The school put former coach Gordon Ernst on leave immediately, Dubyak said.

Following the indictments in the schools admission scandal in March, Dubyak said Georgetown started a thorough review and contacted current students who may have been involved. Two students were told Wednesday that the school was going to rescind their admission and dismiss them from Georgetown, Dubyak said.

The younger Semprevivo, who said he scored a 1,980 on his SAT admissions exam and maintains a 3.18 grade point average as a junior at Georgetown, said he didn’t know his father paid bribes to get him admitted. He sued for breach of contract and unjust enrichment and seeks to prevent the school from also imposing academic discipline including stripping him of his academic credits.

Stephen Semprevivo, who has served as chief strategy and growth officer at Cydcor LLC, admitted in federal court in Boston that his son didn’t even play competitive tennis. Semprevivo is one of 33 parents caught up in the biggest college-admissions scam the Justice Department has ever prosecuted.

Adam graduated from a North Hollywood, California, high school with a 4.067 grade point average, according to the complaint. Nonetheless, his father hired Singer — the man at the heart of the admissions scandal — for assistance with Adam’s college application.

The son claims he was unaware of the arrangement until his father was criminally charged.

The case is Semprevivo v. Georgetown University, 19-cv-1400, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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