Local digest: D.C. school cheating allegations; 14th Street sinkhole

May 21, 2013
THE DISTRICT
School examines cheating allegations

Meridian Public Charter School officials have said they are continuing to examine allegations of test-tampering at the school and have not yet disciplined any staff members.

Meridian was one of four charter schools that the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent flagged last month in connection with cheating on 2012 standardized tests. Five classrooms — representing more than 40 percent of tested students — were implicated.

Meridian’s students had an inexplicably high number of wrong-to-right erasures on answer sheets. Across the entire school, 1,084 answers were changed from wrong to right.

The D.C. Public Charter School Board had asked the school to report on its response to the cheating allegations by Monday. Meridian officials said they need more time and promised to act before the board’s next meeting, in June.

If Meridian fails to convince the board that it has responded appropriately, board members could vote to begin charter-revocation procedures.

— Emma Brown

Sinkhole disrupts traffic on 14th Street

A sinkhole at 14th and F streets NW could keep streets around that intersection closed through Thursday, D.C. police said.

Authorities closed 14th Street on Tuesday between New York and Pennsylvania avenues NW. F Street was closed between 13th and 15th streets.

Drivers should expect major congestion in that area.

— Mark Berman

Man charged with
attempted sex assault

A 26-year-old man was charged Tuesday with breaking into a home in Northwest Washington last week and trying to sexually assault a woman as she was sleeping, D.C. police said.

Authorities said that the woman awoke to see a man standing over her bed and that she fended off the attack.

Domingo Martinez of Northwest was charged with assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse and burglary, police said. Police said the attack occurred May 16 in a house on 14th Street NW, in the Brightwood neighborhood.

— Peter Hermann

Witness challenged
in Levy slaying

A key witness in the 2010 Chandra Levy murder trial had a “history” of offering to cooperate with law enforcement officials, attorneys for the man convicted of killing Levy said Tuesday at a hearing in D.C. Superior Court.

Armando Morales, a former cellmate of Ingmar Guandique’s, testified at the trial that Guandique told him that he killed the federal intern in Rock Creek Park in May 2001. During the trial, Morales said it was the first time he had offered to serve as a witness.

Guandique’s attorneys argue that Morales had offered to cooperate with authorities at least three times. They said prosecutors knew or should have known that and should have disclosed it. They have argued that Guandique, who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison, deserves a new trial. The judge in the case probably will not issue a ruling for several months.

The Levy case drew national attention because of reports the intern was having an affair with a congressman.

— Keith L. Alexander

MARYLAND
School bus hits,
injures jogger, 42

A 42-year-old jogger was struck by a school bus and critically injured Tuesday in the North Potomac-Rockville area, Montgomery County police said.

Police said no children were on the bus when the incident occurred about 2:30 p.m. at Shady Grove and Darnestown roads.

The pedestrian, Jason A. Estabrook of Point of Rocks, was jogging north on the sidewalk on the southbound side of Shady Grove Road. He was hit after he entered the intersection of Shady Grove and Darnestown, about a mile west of Interstate 70, police said.

Police said Estabrook remained in critical condition Tuesday night at Suburban Hospital.

— Martin Weil

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