By Ernie Over, WyoToday.com
In the wake of the bombshell announcement this week of the firings and alleged misconduct by the leadership teams of the St. Stephens Indian Schools, the FBI has now joined in the investigation.
Thursday morning, US Attorney Spokesperson Lori Hogan said, “The matter in question has been referred to the FBI. FBI Denver is reviewing the information and will investigate further to determine whether to forward possible federal charges to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for consideration. If or when charges are filed, a press release will be issued after an arraignment hearing.”
The investigative report, some 30 pages in length, sent shockwaves through the County due to the nature of the allegations, some of which are copied below:
Background: Investigation Leads to St. Stephens School Firings
By Jeff Rebitski, WyoTodayMedia
The Wind River Inter-Tribal Council voted to take immediate action in terminating administrators and the school board governing St. Stephens Indian School, following the completion of an independent federal investigation by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). The BIE identified widespread wrongdoing by school leadership, including: sexual misconduct and harassment; bullying and a toxic workplace environment; use of drugs and alcohol on school property and at school-related functions; financial irregularities; nepotism; and a lack of supervision by school officials in ensuring employees maintained valid state certifications.
In accordance with BIE recommendations, St. Stephens administrators terminated from their roles include: Frank No Runner, Superintendent; Greg Juneau, K-8 Principal; Matthew Mortimer, St. Stephens High School Principal; and Pattee Bement, Food Services Supervisor. Also immediately relieved of their duties was the entire St. Stephens Indian School Board, including William C’Hair; John Goggles; Ronnie Oldman; Dominic Littleshield; and Eugene Ridge Bear.
Since the conclusion of an in depth investigation has resulted in the termination and separation of school leadership, including the school Board, the BIE will defer to authorized agencies to determine if criminal charges for the actors in this investigation are necessary.
At this point, there is no determination as to the future operations of the school. There will be significant changes and modifications and parents should expect regular updates. However, with so much to accomplish at the end of the school year, progress will be slowed and patience will be required.
According to the report mentioned above, there was a long list of infractions associated with the investigation. The list includes but is not limited to…
Allegation 1 – Frank No Runner engaged or has engaged in misconduct of a sexual nature that is unbecoming of a St. Stephens Indian School superintendent.
Allegation 2 – Frank No Runner engaged in conduct that is considered as bullying type behavior toward students, parents, or staff of St. Stephens Indian School.
Allegation 3 – Frank No Runner engaged or has engaged in the consumption of alcohol on school premises or at school related functions, training, etc.
Allegation 4 – Frank No Runner created a toxic work environment at St. Stephens Indian School.
Allegation 5 – Frank No Runner engaged in the use of marijuana on a regular recurring basis, both on and off school premises.
Allegation 6 – Frank No Runner used his position or has used his position for personal gain.
Allegation 7 – Frank No Runner has inappropriately used his position and school funds to influence subordinate staff at St. Stephens Indian School.
Allegation 8 – Frank No Runner was compromised because he did not report inappropriate expenditures of school funds by a member(s) of the School Board.
Allegation 9 – Frank No Runner inappropriately used the school credit card for inappropriate personal expenses.
Allegation 10 – Greg Juneau engaged in the use of marijuana on a regular recurring basis, both on and off school premises.
Allegation 11 – The SSIS School Board inappropriately authorized Greg Juneau and Witness #3 an $18,000 stipend to be used to pay housing expenses using government funds. Note: This request and approval occurred, knowing the SSIS never had an approved “Needs Assessment” completed (Exhibit 81).
Allegation 12 – Heavily redacted
Allegation 13 – Frank No Runner, his wife Pattee Bement, and their children are held to a lower standard than other SSIS employees and students as it pertains to attendance.
Allegation 14 – Employees requiring state certification are not dismissed when the certification expires.
Based on the previous allegations, the following recommendations have been made:
Recommendation 1 – The BIE Investigators recommend the Business Council(s) retrocede the SSIS back to BIE. This recommendation is based on all the conclusions stated above in the administrative investigation report which identifies so many issues with SSIS leadership and the SSIS School Board that it is improbable that the necessary changes will be made without BIE oversight. At such time the Council(s) determine appropriate improvements have been made, they can request to reassume SSIS control.
Recommendation 2 – The Investigators recommend that at a minimum all SSIS leadership including Frank No Runner, Greg Juneau, Matthew Mortimore and Pattee Bement be removed, and others assessed for removal based on information contained in this report.
Recommendation 3 – The Investigators recommend the School Board be removed from their roles due to their complicit participation in approving inappropriate and potentially illegal expenditures and dereliction of duty.
Recommendation 4 – The Investigators believe the Business Council should make it a point to be more involved with the SSIS and provide oversight of the School Board and have access to School Board minutes and agendas.
Recommendation 5 – The Investigators recommend all persons involved in SSIS leadership and with the SSIS School Board be required to become thoroughly familiar with all school policies and pertinent tribal, state and federal regulations.
Recommendation 6 – The Investigators recommend all requests for the expenditure of funds by SSIS leadership be supported by regulations to validate the expenditure of funds are legal and in accordance with regulation and provided to the School Board so they can make well informed decisions.
Recommendation 7 – The Investigators recommend it be a policy of SSIS that when an employee or administrator allows their state licensure to expire that the employee or administrator be immediately terminated for failure to meet a condition of employment and not paid for any services rendered from the date the license expired.
Recommendation 8 – The Investigators recommend that anyone who misuses the School credit card be provided a written warning on the first offense, be disciplined on the second offense and terminated on the third offense.
Recommendation 9 – The Investigators recommend a well written employee and student time and attendance policy be established that discusses the consequences for being absent without leave or for repeat unexcused absences/excessive absences, etc. The current policy is subjective and doesn’t explain what excessive or abuse means.
Recommendation 10 – The Investigators recommend a process for elevating serious issues involving the superintendent and or School Board regarding allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement, without fear of retaliation.