Written by By Pamela Brown, CNN London Contributors
Editor’s Note — Pamela Brown is CNN’s international news editor. She previously worked at CNN as a New York-based senior international correspondent.
(CNN) — The massive college admissions bribery scandal that’s rocked the Ivy League and beyond has shocked the education world to its core.
Now four former Stanford University applicants have released a statement in response to the court proceedings accusing wealthy parents of paying to have their children use an exam-cheating scam and get into the prestigious school.
Four people have been charged as part of the scandal, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and college coaches from some of the most elite universities. More than 50 others have been implicated in what authorities call the largest college admissions fraud scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.
“We recognize that an unfortunate situation has arisen as a result of allegations in a recent media report,” the former Stanford applicants said in a statement made public through the law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder in Los Angeles.
The Stanford applicants — Lori Arias, Savannah Farhat, Elizabeth Wipfli and Miriam Weeks — said they never heard of or knew of anyone who used the cheating scheme, they added.
“We regret the timing of these statements,” they said. “We did not intend to ‘speak on behalf’ of anyone else but ourselves.”
In California, where the scandal broke, college admissions counseling is prohibited by the state’s Educational Code. Violators can face penalties such as fines or jail time.