Trial on for CCSU student accused of cheating

EducationTrials and ArbitrationCrime, Law and JusticeCentral Connecticut State UniversityColleges and UniversitiesWaterbury

A Central Connecticut State Universitystudent who was expelled after being accused of plagiarizinganother student's term paper has gone to court seeking to clear hisname.

Testimony in Matthew Coster's case began Tuesday in WaterburySuperior Court. He's suing the other student, Christina Duquette,claiming she copied his term paper on the Holocaust and not theother way around.

Coster was expelled in 2006 after his Western civilizationprofessor and CCSU officials found that he had cheated.

The lawsuit seeks a ruling by Judge Jane Scholl that Coster didnot cheat and an unspecified amount of money for legal costs.

Coster, now 21, has continued his education at a communitycollege.

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

Duquette, now a substitute teacher in Waterbury, denies theallegations.

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

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

Both e-mails were sent at the request of Moss, who said he hadnot received either of their term papers by the assigned deadline.The students responded by e-mail and attached their respectivepapers, which were described Tuesday as nearly identical, exceptfor spelling and grammar errors in Coster's paper.

Grzelak said his analysis of each e-mail determined that theattached document on Coster's was created on May 14, 2006, and thatthe 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, Duquetteremoved Coster's paper from the mailbox, copied it, corrected thegrammar and spelling and turned it in as her own.

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

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

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Information from: The Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com

AP-ES-11-19-08 1304EST

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