Donna Heinel, USC’s former women’s athletic director, who has fallen from grace after being indicted and arrested in the nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, appeared in a Boston federal courtroom earlier this week.
Enters not guilty plea
Heinel, 57, a well-known member of the LGBTQ university sports community, stood before a judge in the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse on Monday and entered a plea of not guilty, as did 11 other defendants.
They have been accused in an elaborate racketeering conspiracy that has ensnared coaches, test administrators, and associates of Rick Singer, the alleged ringleader, according to court documents.
College admissions scandal
Prosecutors have said that Singer collected $25 million from dozens of wealth parents who wanted their kids to gain admission to elite schools and bribed coaches to recruit them as athletes and rigged entrance exams. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin are two wealthy parents who have been charged in the scandal. Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who also has been charged, are accused of paying more than $500,000 in bribes as their daughters were applying to USC.
Both of the daughters are students at the university. Olivia Jade Giannulli has become something of a poster child for a privileged, spoiled, and arrogant teenagers. Some Giannulli’s YouTube videos show her bragging about not caring about school and hoping that the university would allow her to prioritize her cosmetics line over attending classes.
USC has said it will examine all cases of students who gained admission through cheating and decide what actions would be taken.
Fired from USC
Heinel, who was fired from USC shortly after the indictment was unsealed, is accused by prosecutors of receiving more than $1.3 million in bribes.
No universities or students have been charged in the scandal.
Before the admissions scandal broke, Heinel, who, along with her wife and two children, lives in the Los Angeles area, encouraged visibility for gay and lesbian collegiate athletes.