2 Held In Cheyney Grade Sale

Posted: January 06, 1988

Word-of-mouth advertising that Cheyney University students could have their grades improved for a fee apparently worked a little too well.

Word eventually spread to school administrators, who passed the word along to the state attorney general's office, requesting an investigation.

That investigation ended yesterday with the arrest of Joseph J. Johnson, 26 of Chester, Delaware County, and David L. Granacher, 34, of Phoenixville, Chester County, on charges including unlawful use of a computer and forgery, said Attorney General LeRoy S. Zimmerman.

Johnson and Granacher were employees of Cheyney's computer center until they were suspended without pay from their Cheyney positions earlier in the investigation.

Investigators say the two changed dozens of grades recorded in the university computer. Some changes were made as a favor, but the standard fee was $50, Zimmerman said.

Higher prices were charged for an A, he said. And in one instance an offer was made to change a female student's grade in exchange for sex, Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said school officials provided information to his office concerning what he called an "assault upon Cheyney's academic integrity." He applauded the school's cooperation with the investigation and that of the State System of Higher Education.

Students who allegedly got their grades improved will not be prosecuted by his office, Zimmerman said.

"Cheyney officials have advised us that they will be disciplining the students who we have identified as having obtained grade changes," he said.

Cheyney officials could not be reached for comment last night.

The university also is examining additional records to identify other students who may have obtained grade changes.

Johnson and Granacher were arraigned yesterday in Concordville District Court. Johnson was being held last night in the Delaware County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing Jan. 14. Granacher was released on his own recognizance pending a hearing Jan. 26.

Each is charged with 14 counts of unlawful use of a computer, 14 counts of forgery, 10 counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy. Maximum penalties per count are seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine for the charges of unlawful computer use, bribery and conspiracy and five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for forgery.

The criminal complaint alleges that Johnson changed 21 grades for nine students, who paid him $1,075.

Granacher, in addition to conspiring with Johnson, personally changed grades for four students, and gave himself a grade for a course he hadn't taken, the complaint charged.

Granacher allegedly charged one of the four $50 to change a grade, and changed grades for the three others at no charge. Two of those students allegedly took advantage of his free service to obtain 11 grade changes each.

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