A woman has lived her very own version of Drew Barrymore classic Never Been Kissed by passing herself off as a teenager to enrol in a high school.
Hyejeong Shin, 29, forged a birth certificate to pose as a 16-year-old and attend classes at New Brunswick High School in New Jersey, according to local reports.
The university graduate only managed to last four days before the school realised that her documents were fake.
Her lawyer, Darren Gelber, told ABC7 that Shin acknowledged that she’d made a mistake but stressed there was no malintent behind the elaborate ruse. Rather, she was simply seeking the kinds of friendships she had while in school.
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Gelber explained that Shin is a South Korean citizen who came to the US alone when she was 16 to attend a private boarding school and that she longed to return to a similarly tight-knit environment.
"At no time was anyone or any student in danger ,” Gelber told the news outlet. “This entire case is more about my client wanting to return to a place of safety and welcoming and an environment that she looks back on fondly and nothing more.”
New Brunswick Police released a statement corroborating his argument by confirming that they had found nothing to suggest Shin’s actions were driven by a desire to inflict harm on students or staff.
29-Year-Old Woman LIES on Birth Certificate to Attend New Jersey High School | NBC New Yorkyoutu.be
However, Shin was indicted by a grand jury for providing false documents and hindering her own prosecution.
She pleaded not guilty in court on Monday, and she and Gelber are hoping she’ll be accepted onto a pre-trial intervention programme, meaning she’ll serve no time behind bars.
The lawyer added that once the case has been closed, and after living in the US for 13 years, Shin plans to return to South Korea.
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