Reservation School collapse: Mass layoffs after allegations of drugs, bribery and sexual misconduct
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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
After a federal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, drug use, wasteful spending, nepotism, intimidation and corruption among the leaders of St. Stephen’s Indian School, the school superintendent, two directors and other officials were dismissed.
The school’s entire school board has also been terminated by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, the two said in a statement, and the school is temporarily operated by the U.S. Bureau of Education. Indian.
The layoffs followed an IBE investigation that was completed in April at the request of the tribes.
The report included allegations of numerous wrongdoings by Superintendent Frank No Runner, including sexual misconduct involving students.
Witnesses interviewed by the BIE said No Runner asked a teenage babysitter if she wanted to have sex with him for money. The babysitter reportedly grabbed her things and left No Runner’s house after her lead.
Another girl was spotted dancing topless at a boozy party at No Runner when she was 17 and still a student at school.
When two of the girl’s friends went to No Runner to pick up the girl, who is identified in the report as “Witness 5”, they saw her on the coffee table “dancing topless and cheering by the adults in the room”.
The report identified some of the adults as No Runner, Greg Juneau, principal of St. Stephen’s Elementary School; St. Stephen’s food supervisor Pattee Bement – later No Runner’s wife – and St. Stephen’s High School principal Matthew Mortimore.
Several witnesses also testified that No Runner asked students and ex-students for nude photos and sex or to attend parties at his house.
No Runner himself testified that he sent $100 to “Witness 5” at a regional basketball tournament that same year, although he also testified that the money “wasn’t for pictures (of nudes).
On one occasion, according to the report, No Runner offered a girl $400 to come to her party with her friends.
“(The girl) really needed the money,” a source testified in the report. “And she would go to his house for the money and stay a while and leave.”
No rider had bragged to a friend about three years after the topless dance incident that ‘Witness 5’, when she was 20, slept with him on her 40th birthday , according to the report.
Another woman known as “Witness 6” said she quit her job at school because No Runner and Juneau were trying to show her and her boyfriend, who also worked at the school. school, photos of naked girls.
‘Witness 6’ also claimed that the two men made sexual comments to him and asked him at inappropriate times during the night to come to their house.
The school declined to provide Frank No Runner’s contact information, instead relaying a Cowboy State Daily reporter on the acting superintendent’s voicemail.
No one from the school returned the voicemail requesting comment Tuesday morning.
Bement and Mortimore did not respond Tuesday morning to social media posts seeking comment.
“Take Two for the Tango”
No runner told investigators that he had also had an affair with “witness 4”.
“Witness 4” did not corroborate this claim, according to the IBE report.
“She was of legal age and willful,” No Runner’s testimony said.
In other shows, Bement, who was then No Runner’s girlfriend, began messaging the “Witness 4” woman on Facebook, asking if “Witness 4” wanted to meet No Runner at the Holiday Inn, “because that he is leaving”.
When “Witness 4” didn’t respond, Bement wrote, “It takes two to tango well,” followed by “Honey, you still wanna have (expletive),” according to the report.
“It is unclear,” the investigator wrote, “whether Bement was harassing ‘Witness 4’ on this occasion, or whether she was soliciting sex for No Runner.”
Anyway, “Witness 4” got a restraining order against Bement.
No Runner’s relationship with “Witness 4” ended in 2021, according to the report, around the time the woman’s boyfriend started trying to fight No Runner.
Superintendent’s hot box, manager’s cocaine
No Runner and Juneau are accused of smoking marijuana inside and outside of school.
Many of the alleged incidents took place at No Runner’s house, which is on campus at a house in the St. Stephen Indian Mission.
No Runner’s neighbor testified that she was aware of frequent parties at the man’s house and that on one occasion she banned “lots of weed and alcohol in the house” and students were drinking weed. alcohol and smoked marijuana.
A school employee testified that during a school-sponsored trip to New Orleans for “No Kid Hungry” training, No Runner and Bement smoked marijuana in the car with the windows rolled up, which “heated” the employee as she sat in the back. seat.
“She was really upset because she felt like she was being forced to inhale second-hand marijuana smoke,” the report said.
Another witness testified that he saw Juneau using cocaine at No Runner’s, adding that he offered it to her.
There were former students at this party who, according to the witness, “were not old enough to drink”.
Yet another witness had been told by her boyfriend that No Runner was smoking marijuana “with some boys outside the (school) gym”.
Several employees testified that Juneau came to “high school” from elementary school at least once a week.
Bement is also accused of smoking marijuana on campus, in the house she and No Runner share with their children.
Staff members testified that No Runner accelerated his wife, Bement, from a lower position to her role as food supervisor, earning her a $10,000 annual raise. She also received an additional $5,000 raise to run a grant program.
Prior to Bement taking the job, overseeing food was an additional duty performed by a staff member paid a $13,000 stipend. For Bement, it became a full-time job worth $50,000 a year.
When Bement was still a long-term substitute teacher, she missed 279 days in three years, the report continues, and was 78 days late during that time.
“SSIS has a four-day school week,” the investigator wrote, “which, given the number of absences, is even more alarming” and “has harmed Indian children.”
When other staff approached No Runner about his wife’s absenteeism, the superintendent reportedly said things like “You’re not going to fire my wife”.
He then promoted her to diet supervisor, the report said.
The school is funded by the federal government.
According to the report, the SSIS school board ‘inappropriately’ authorized Juneau and others to pay between $14,400 and $18,000 in federal public funds a year for employee rent payments without conducting needs assessments and examinations required for funding.
The report also accuses the school board of authorizing school-funded car repairs for an employee.
School board member Ronnie Oldman declined to comment.
The school administration is accused of failing to fire or properly warn teachers whose certifications had expired.
Juneau’s teaching certification would have expired in 2020, and he “does not have a current valid license but has been cleared to practice his work” in elementary school.
Juneau reportedly did not apply for recertification with the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board until September 3, 2021. The application was canceled by the PTSB three months later, according to the report, because Juneau did not submit his fingerprints – a background check requirement. part of teacher certification.
His candidacy was reopened on January 1 but was still pending when the IBE report was written.
Credit cards, bullying
No runner would have bullied at least one school parent on Facebook, created a toxic work environment for staff, showed up to a high school basketball game drunk, and used the school’s credit card. school for personal purchases.
“It is truly a sad day,” Jordan Dresser, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said in a statement prepared Monday evening. “And I regret that as tribal leaders we had no choice but to ensure a safe and orderly learning environment at St. Stephen’s Indian School by removing these people from the roles that had been entrusted to them.
Dresser’s comments came in response to voting by his government panel and the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, which oversees the Shoshone tribe.
Both tribes occupy the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Those immediately fired from their roles at the school include No Runner, Juneau, Matthew Mortimore, Bement – and the entire school board: William C’Hair, John Goggles, Ronnie Oldman and Eugene Ridge Bear. Dominic Littleshield, another board member implicated in the report, was no longer on the school board when the accusations emerged.
John St. Clair, president of the ESBC, is quoted in the statement as saying that “the IBE report speaks for itself” and that the IBE investigation does not “address criminal conduct”.
“Our action is a precautionary effort to protect our children and our community.”
Both tribes had requested the BIE investigation.
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