Paul VI H.S. Discovers Student Scam

FAIRFAX — Jonathan Taylor Spielberg, also known as Anoushirvan Fakhran, was arrested twice last week in connection with masquerading as the nephew of Hollywood movie maker Steven Spielberg. Charged with one count of forgery, one count of forging a public record — a Fairfax County Circuit Court Petition for Change of Name, dated Aug. 19, 1997 — and two counts of uttering (passing off documents), Spielberg was arrested at his Fairfax home on Jan. 10 and again on Jan. 12. He was first released on a $15,000 bond and after the second arrest, released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. New radio reports Jan. 21 revealed that Spielberg had been arrested for a third time by Fairfax police for possession of child pornography. Police earlier had removed 74 videotapes from his family's home in Fairfax. According to the City of Fairfax Police Department, Spielberg attended Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax under false pretenses, having forged admission documents and leading school officials to believe he was the nephew of the movie producer. According to various news reports, Spielberg first enrolled at Paul VI in September, 1998. When his attendance became sporadic, Paul VI contacted DreamWorks studios in Hollywood, attempting to locate the student's parents, and were told that Steven Spielberg had no such relative. The California Security Corporation, which supplies security for Steven Spielberg, contacted police who began their own investigation, which resulted in the first arrest. The investigation, which is ongoing, revealed several discrepancies in the age of the suspect, who claimed he was 16 years old while attending Paul VI. Although they are still verifying facts, police believe he may be 27 years old. The police have searched the suspect's residence in Fairfax, where he lives with his family. The suspect has been quoted as saying he was only auditing classes at Paul VI, which supposedly explained his frequent absences. According to officials at other diocesan high schools, there is usually a strict policy on auditing, which requires regular attendance. Alward Burch, principal of Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, said that he allows students to audit in special cases, such as a foreign student who is learning English, but even students who audit must carry a full schedule and keep a regular attendance record. Burch also pointed out that the application process at diocesan high schools is very tight, requiring letters of recommendation, official transcripts and interviews with parents. He said no matter how secure the process is, there is always the possibility of what happened at Paul VI. "This could have happened anywhere," said Burch. "We do the best we can but every system of checks and balances has flaws. This just makes us aware that we need to be more cautious than we already are." Peter Hamer of the admissions office at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, thinks there is no real cause for alarm for this situation reoccurring. He said the application and admission process at Bishop Ireton is also tight and that it is highly unlikely someone "would fall through the cracks." Bishop Ireton maintains a no-audit policy. Paul VI, a diocesan school operated by the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, has not commented on the situation. Father Robert Rippy, diocesan chancellor and spokesman, declined any detailed comment pending the outcome of the investigation but made a preliminary statement. "The diocese and school are cooperating with the current police investigation and are also continuing their own review of the matter," said Father Rippy. "However, preliminary information indicated that this incident has not in any way affected normal school operations." Dr. Timothy McNiff, diocesan superintendent of schools, sent a letter home to PVI parents Jan. 14, informing them of the situation and asking them to contact Fairfax police with additional information.
Copyright ?2000 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016