Twins handed $1.5 million in damages by college after it accused them of cheating in exam
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Featured Image Credit: Facebook / Medical University of South Carolina
A South Carolina college has had to cough up a hefty sum in damages after it wrongly accused a pair of twins of cheating.
Kayla and Kellie Bingham, now 30, were enrolled at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 2016 and were both studying to become doctors when they were accused of cheating by ‘signalling’ to each other in a medical exam.
But after 'six years of torment' following the accusation, which lead to the sisters filing a lawsuit in 2017, a jury has now decided that the medical school defamed the sisters, awarding them compensation.
The Binghams have been awarded $1.5 million in damages by MUSC, with a court ruling that the twins came up with the same answers to questions because ‘their minds were connected’.
At the time of the incident, Kayla and Kellie were 24 and had been assigned seats at the same table during an exam.
Speaking to Insider, Kellie insisted it was ‘virtually impossible’ for her and her sister to see one another’s computer screens and pointed out that it wasn’t the first time she and Kayla had scored similarly on tests.
"We were just nodding at a question at our own computer screens," Kayla said. "There was no signaling."
She then added that they 'never looked at each other'.
Not only did the twins have the same SAT scores - they tested on different days and locations - but they even scored within a ‘fraction’ of each other on high school tests.
Various professionals came to Kayla and Kellie’s defence, with one of their college professors saying that he noticed their ‘striking similarities’ in exams previously - despite them sitting at opposite ends of the table for said test.
Professor Nancy Segal, a psychologist and behaviour geneticist specialising in the study of twins at California State University, also defended the twins and even testified for them in court.
Segal said she’d have been ‘stunned’ if the twins didn’t reach the same conclusion on their papers, noting that ‘cheating complaints filed against twins are common in higher education.
The professor explained to Insider: “They are genetically predisposed to behave the same way. They've been raised the same and are natural partners in the same environment.”
Segal also told the jury: “Identical twins just have this kind of understanding that goes beyond what we typically think of as a close relationship.”
Kayla called MUSC's cheating claims 'ridiculous’ and insisted she and Kallie didn’t have 'twin telepathy or a secret language’.
In 2016, the siblings left MUSC ‘at the recommendation of the dean because of how hostile it had become’ - their fellow students even believed they had cheated - and the twins filed a lawsuit against the college in 2017.
Kellie said she was shattered when they were forced to abandon their medical career: "It honestly killed me. I'd dreamed about being a doctor since I was little - Kayla and I wanted to help people."
However, Kayla has now said the moment the jury read its findings was the ‘biggest moment of our lives’ and ‘restored everything to us’.