Student Impostor Now Faces Sex Charges

Plus, more on how Artur Samarin fooled officials
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2016 7:49 AM CST
Student Impostor Now Faces Sex Charges
Pennsylvania State Rep. Patty Kim presents a certificate to "Asher Potts."   (Pennsylvania State Rep. Patty Kim via AP)

The 23-year-old Ukrainian man accused of posing as a Pennsylvania high school student had sexual relationships with female students, including a 15-year-old in 2014, police say. Artur Samarin, who went by Asher Potts, now faces additional charges of statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors. Meanwhile, new details are emerging about how Samarin apparently fooled high school officials. "It was not my idea, I just want to let you know it was not my idea," Samarin tells WHTM from Dauphin County Prison. He says his family was "starving" in Ukraine and his mother and grandparents gave him the last of their money to start a new life in the US. He arrived in 2012 on a three-month exchange visitor visa, then received a tourist visa.

When that expired, Samarin—who dreamed of being a NASA researcher, per PennLive—says Michael and Stephayne Potts helped him get a birth certificate and Social Security card with the name Asher Potts and a birth date in 1997, then adopted him. But they often threatened to call authorities, Samarin says. It was "pretty much like a slave driver system … I was afraid … so I was cleaning the toilet, I was cooking for them, I was doing everything." Officials say an anonymous tip clued them in to the ruse on Dec. 11. The caller said a man was attending high school illegally and "having sexual relationships with female students." Officials are still investigating, but more arrests are expected. As for whether Samarin regrets the ruse, he says, "No, I'm not regretting doing it. I have spent all of my free time on education. ... I tried to do better for the society." (More Pennsylvania stories.)

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