Santa Maria principal accused of falsifying athletes’ transcripts

February 7, 2024


The official registrar for St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria has accused the principal of altering transcripts and ordering others to falsify high-performing athletes’ grades on official transcripts.

Connie Plata, the school’s registrar, filed a blistering lawsuit last week against principal Erinn Dougherty and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Education and Welfare Corporation after Dougherty allegedly ordered her to violate the law and then retaliated against her after she refused. The suit alleges failure to investigate, harassment, retaliation, discrimination and infliction of emotional distress.

“On at least one occasion, after Plata refused to break the law and falsely inflate student grades and fraudulently revise official transcripts, Dougherty marched into Plata’s office after hours, closed the door, and began to yell at and belittle Plata for not being on board and refusing to follow her commands to change official student records,” according to the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit filed on Jan. 29, Plata accuses Dougherty of asking her to changes athletes’ grades and to falsely add college coursework credits to official transcripts. In addition, Plata accuses Dougherty of ordering school staff to change Dougherty’s own daughter’s grades.

After Plata allegedly refused to change a transcript, in 2023 an institution of higher learning contacted Plata about a “revised” transcript. In the suit, Plata accuses Dougherty of going around her and illegally revising that transcript.

Even though Plata repeatedly reported Dougherty’s alleged misconduct to the diocese, the diocese “failed and refused to take any action or even perform an investigation,” according to the lawsuit.

“Adding insult to injury, Plata’s job duties were recently downsized,” according to the lawsuit. “Beginning in Jan. 2024, after Plata refused multiple directives from defendants to falsify student records, Plata was informed that she would no longer be handling any part of the SJHS admissions process.”

The lawsuit, which accuses Dougherty of fraud, seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages and court cost and legal fees.

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St. Joseph Principal Erinn Dougherty has a troubled history as an instructional leader at the school, and this case is just one more reason why she needs to be replaced.

Under Doughtery, the enrollment at St. Joseph has declined, and the core mission of the school seems focused on recruiting athletic success in a few markee sports and public relation campaigns used to create a false narrative that all is well at this once-proud school.

Lawyers for the litigants need to get Doughrety under oath, if the allegation she changed her daughters academic transcript are true, she should be prosecuted and jailed.

What an example principal Erinn Dougherty and the Archdiocese are setting for the students, how to cheat and lie. What is the motivation behind it? Donations to the school, principal or Archdiocese?

What is the motivation behind it?”

Success in athletics. Tom Mott has been recruiting all across the world for several years now through his One Dream Foundation—see, his daddy was a rich guy—ever been in Mott Gym at Cal Poly? Mott was kicked out of Mission Prep several years ago for cheating. SJ hired him and since then he’s made the school’s athletics far better than it had ever been through recruiting. I always thought that was the worst of his sins, but obviously he’s been in the prinicpal’s ear about making sure his players are eligible and even have inflated GPAs so they can get into college. Both he and Dougherty will surely be shown the door after this fiasco.

What is the extent of Jesuit involvement with SJHS?

And my Gawd….the pahrents!!

You can bet for sure that trust-fund baby Tom Mott is behind this.

college sports and profits infiltrating schools and destroying our cultural fabric by stealing funds for the arts, science and trade skills only benefiting a minority of elites? No way!?!? it’s almost like there could be scouts at schools!?! Ban sports, period. This isn’t the Roman Empire. Sports have to be the biggest representation for a dying Empire ever. How many lawsuits, deaths, and wasted dollars go into Olympics, stadiums, and idiots?

i’ve seen your posts, and i think i know who you are in real life and if so people speak very highly of you but your rants and diatribes undermine your credibility. Sports is better than academics these day as kids just get brainwashed into being cogs in the liberal welfare state wheel. You know that. But sports builds character, teacher people teamwork and teaches life lessons like you can’t change your refs failure to call face masking but you can control your reaction. Sports is a great outlet, gives people a chance to get an athletic scholarship. My best friend when I was school was an all league guard, played linebacker and developed a great work ethic. Back then coaches were deeply patriotic, conservative and any attempt to disrespect with the flag or national anthem would have been dealt with severely. Stop emoting and start thinking rationally. Even my horse can do that. It occurred to me your remarks might be parody but not sure.

Sports is better than academics these day as kids just get brainwashed into being cogs in the liberal welfare state”

Seriously? You talk about other peoples’ credibility and then make a statement that ridiculous? Even if it’s arguable that some aspects of academics were liberal brainwashing…. to sum it up as you have is just ridiculous. You are the one emoting and whose comment seems like parody.

chocolate_addict: Please address the Policies, events and arguments, not the person. Constructive debate is good; mockery, taunting, and name calling is not.

I think an investigation needs to go even deeper. If you have been to any St Joseph’s boys sporting events, you will notice their athletes appear to be older and more physically developed than those of their opposing teammates which makes me question the true age of their athletes. I have heard, do not know how true, that they recruit athletes from across the US even paying their tuition and living expenses.

Unfortunately as I have said before life is inherently unfair. I know that as a fact as I have dealt with a series unfortunate events but that is just life. St. Joseph’s being a Catholic school has a different pool of athletes to choose from. To make up for that they had to compensate by recruiting out of the area talent. The answer to that is to let other schools figure out how to compete. We don’t need an investigation, a law or any type of government action that will make things worse. We don’t need to think about this or stress about it. If you are concerned about stuff start going to Board of Supervisor meetings and use the public comment to skewer the Evil 3 who are determined to make this county a third world s hole.