He Says, She Says – Cheating Case Goes to Court

A former Central Connecticut State University student who was expelled over cheating allegations is getting his days in court to argue that the paper he submitted is his own work.

Matthew Coster claims that another student copied his college term paper on the holocaust, not the other way around. Testimony in his case has begun.

Coster's western civilization professor and officials at CCSU said he had cheated and expelled him in 2006.

He and his family have sued Cristina Duquette, the student whose paper Coster is accused of stealing.

Coster and Duquette both took the stand Tuesday in Waterbury Superior Court.

"I have been wrongly accused, and this is going to follow me wherever I go," Coster said Tuesday.

Duquette, now a substitute teacher in Waterbury, denies the allegations.

 Mark Grzelak, a computer expert hired by Coster's family to analyze computer files, testified Tuesday that there is proof Coster created his paper a week before Duquette submitted hers.

Attorneys on both sides have focused on e-mails sent by each student to CCSU Western civilization Professor Ronald Moss.

Both e-mails were sent at the request of Moss, who said he had not received either of their term papers by the assigned deadline. The students responded by e-mail and attached their respective papers, which were described Tuesday as nearly identical, except for spelling and grammar errors in Coster's paper.

Grzelak said his analysis of each e-mail determined that the attached document on Coster's was created on May 14, 2006, and that the document attached to Duquette's was created nine days later.

Coster contends that he turned in a paper before Moss' deadline. He testified that he made final edits to his paper on May 15. Coster said he then drove to campus and put the paper in Moss' mailbox before the deadline of 5 p.m. on May 15.

The lawsuit claims that "at some subsequent" time, Duquette removed Coster's paper from the mailbox, copied it, corrected the grammar and spelling and turned it in as her own.

Duquette, who graduated last May, said she also put a term paper in Moss' mailbox before the deadline.

Coster, a New Milford native, attends Naugatuck Valley Community College. After leaving CCSU, he applied to the University of Connecticut but was rejected. He believes the expulsion was the reason.

The trial is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.




Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us