February 21, 2004
(Thomasville-AP) -- A former guidance counselor has been charged with forgery for allegedly trying to hire a student to take an SAT test using the name of a Georgia basketball signee who had failed to gain admission to the university.
Ernest Shanks Junior was arrested Thursday at his home in Thomasville and charged with two counts of first-degree forgery. Authorities say the charges stem from a failed scheme to have one of Shanks' students at Colquitt County High School take the test in December 2002 using the name of Georgia recruit and former Dougherty High School star Alexander Johnson.
Shanks allegedly forged student ID and Social Security cards for student John Yearta under Johnson's name. The student never took the test but the scheme was reported to the Colquitt County superintendent. Shanks, a teacher and counselor for 24 years, resigned a month later.
Johnson signed with Georgia in 2001 before his senior season at Dougherty High, but didn't qualify academically to join the Bulldogs for the 2002 season. Johnson is now a freshman at Florida State, where he is the basketball team's second-leading scorer. Johnson has denied knowing Shanks.
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