Report of Findings--Lassen Union High School District
Susanville Elementary School District, W. T. Pratt, et. al.

State of California                         Department of Education


To: Roger Wolfertz, Staff Counsel                Date: May 31, 1989

From: Reuben A. Burton, Manager (5-9482)
             Intergroup Relations Office

                  OF FINDINGS

Attached is our Report of Findings in regard to the investigation 
into the use of racial slurs by Edward Frank Murin.  As you will 
see from our Report the issues do not seem to be limited to 
unlawful discrimination.

My office has been contacted recently by various representatives of 
the A.P., U.P., Sacramento Bee, Channel 12 in Chico, Senator 
Doolittle's staff, from the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and 
by the Pratts for copies of the report. It's not clear to me if we are 
compelled under 22 CCR 98348 to provide copies upon written 
request at this time.  Doubtless, you have the answer to that.

What is the next step?  How can I be of help?



                  Report of Findings   
         Lassen Union High School District
       Susanville Elementary School District
                 W. T. Pratt, et. al.

Intake Date:  March 17, 1988


Discrimination based on ethnic group identification, 
color and sex.  Specifically, it is alleged that Edward Frank
Murin uses sexual, ethnic and racial slurs in reference to
American Indian and black students (and sexual slurs 
against a specific student) as part of his teaching and 
coaching duties in these two school districts, e.g., "We 
could use a little nigger on our team", "I don't know where 
he gets that double pump nigger crap", "Murin called our 
son a homosexual in front of 15-20 football players at the 
Lassen High School gym", "Mr. Murin walked by and called 
him (the student) a fruitcake", "Why don't you (Indian students) 
give us a rain dance?", "Why don't you go over there and 
pile up some sticks and grass and dance around it for us?"

W. T. Pratt, DDS & (wife) Janice Pratt
710 Mill Street
Susanville, CA. 96130
(916) 257-3472

Marshall S. Leve, Jr., District Superintendent
Susanville Elementary School District (K-8; E:  1,115)
Lassen Union High School District (9-12; E:  965)

Anthony F. Miscione, former Lassen Union 
     High School Principal
John Kingston, Athletic Director
Ed Lombardi, former Head Coach:  football, 
     Lassen Union High School
William Ellena, current Head Coach:  football
Lassen High School (9-12; E:  965)
1110 Main Street
Susanville, CA 96130
(916) 257-2141

Jud Jensen, Principal
Edward Frank Murin, Teacher/Coach
Diamondview Elementary School (5-8; E:  440)
850 Richmond Road
Susanville, CA 96130
(916) 257-5144

William Gillaspie, Lassen County Superintendent of Schools
472-013 Johnstonville Road, North
Susanville, CA 96130
(916) 257-2196


Mr. Murin

Edward Frank Murin is a California credentialed teacher at 
Diamondview Elementary School in the Susanville Elementary 
School District.  Mr. Murin is also a "walk-on" varsity boys 
basketball coach and an assistant football coach at Lassen 
High School in the Lassen Union High School District.

Mr. Murin is a lifelong resident of Susanville and a former 
student in these two School Districts.  He is alleged through oral 
testimony and written affidavits to have exhibited violent, felonious 
and unlawfully discriminatory behavior throughout his boyhood, 
school matriculation, his seventeen-year-teaching and eleven-year 
coaching tenure under the common administration of the Lassen 
Union High School and Susanville Elementary School Districts.  

The Community

Susanville, with a population of 7,000, is the governmental seat 
of Lassen County.  This has pertinence in that the County 
Superintendent of Schools also is located there.  Given that it is 
a relatively small community the professional, social, service 
organization memberships, and recreational contacts and 
communication tend to operate very effectively.  Therefore, all 
levels of civic administration and law enforcement have had 
sufficient knowledge of the substantial issues in the totality of 
Murin's alleged misbehaviors.

Pertinent History

Approximately 35 people were interviewed either in person or by 
telephone for the purposes of this investigation.  They range in 
background and age from the retired administrative law judge 
who served as a private consultant in this matter to the Lassen 
Union High School Board, current and former Lassen High
School Board members, the Superintendent of the two school 
districts in question, Mr. Murin, his attorney, California 
Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and athletic league officials, 
parents, students, former classmates and former faculty 

Many of the above who wished to give background or testimony 
against Mr. Murin, spoke about Murin's obscenities directed at 
specific students e.g., "You fucking idiot"; "You stupid fucking 
dummy" and of his psychological and emotional abuses of 
children in specific instances.

A former classmate of Murin's testified that she had witnessed 
and then assailed Murin for forcing her retarded younger brother 
to pick up with his mouth and eat the popcorn that Murin had
thrown on the floor of the high school corridor.

Another incident in the testimony by an American Indian man who 
is currently a faculty member of the local community college, is 
that as a high school student Murin assaulted him at age eight or
 ten by pouring whiskey down his throat to amuse himself and his 
two or three high school friends one night when the younger boys 
were attempting a first camp-out on the front lawn at the home of 
one of his Anglo playmates.

A recent Indian student of Murin's at Diamondview Elementary 
School testified to his ridicule of her by repeatedly calling her a 
fat slob eventually driving her from the school.  In a similar, but 
fatal, incident it is alleged by her parents that Mr. Murin's 
unrelenting ridicule and humiliation of her obesity was a key 
factor cited in the girl's suicide.

Board of Trustees Knowledge of Murin's Misconduct

In the spring of 1988 the Lassen Union High School Board of 
Trustees hired a private consultant to hear the various 
complaints which community members and parents had brought 
forward in addition to the Pratt complaint.  This consultant, a 
retired administrative law judge, reported April 24, 1988 to the
Board of Trustees of the Lassen Union High School District the 
following "Findings of Fact" in regard to Murin:

     .    Resorts to tactics and language which, on innumerable 
          occasions,  went beyond the limits of permissibility.

     .    Respondent's conduct was tolerated by his superiors, 
          his peers and most of his students.

     .    Parents and students who were offended chose to 
          remain silent for fear of Murin's retaliation.

     .    When it became known that Dr. and Mrs. Pratt were 
          actually going to pursue an effort to compel an 
          official  inquiry into Murin's conduct, a considerable 
          number of students and parents decided to come 
          forward and to give evidence of their own experiences.

     .    Among fellow teachers and fellow coaches Murin's lack 
          of self  discipline in language and physical behavior 
          is either ignored or considered permissible.

     .    Many (fellow) coaches agreed that Murin was 
          foul-mouthed on many occasions.

     .    On several occasions in the past few years, individual 
          complaints were lodged with the Board, and at times 
          with high-ranking staff  members.  Aside from one written 
          reprimand, no formal action was ever taken against 

     .    ...the kicking of the clipboard (by Murin) was 
          intentional and  serves as an example of 
          Respondent's conduct when he became angry.

     .    It was established that Respondent (Murin) used the 
          term "nigger" in the presence of student athletes.

     .    Respondent (Murin) admitted to his referring to a 
          student as a "homo" because of the student's 
          attire for which, when forced to,  Murin apologized 
          in an off-hand  way.

     .    Respondent's conduct on this occasion was 
          excessively rough and therefore, inappropriate.

     .    In regard to the bus incident:

          1.   Murin's conduct was clearly excessive, and 
                thus provides another example, of the 
                intemperance triggered by his intense 

          2.   It is found that, quite to the contrary, (of 
                Murin's testimony) Respondent created 
                the crisis and the attendant dangers, 
                and neither he nor any of the other adult
               participants deserve credit for averting a 
               more serious incident.

     .    It is found that Murin verbally and physically abused 
          Stacy Miller during early football practice by pulling 
          him by the face mask, by swearing and shouting 
          obscenities at him and by  belittling him.  As a result, 
          Stacy Miller quit the team before the season began.

     .    In the Hearing Officer's (Rudolf H. Michaels, a 
          private consultant to the Lassen Union High School 
          Board of Trustees) considered opinion, it is extremely 
          doubtful that, based on the evidence presented here, a State 
          Administrative Law Judge or a Commission on Professional 
          Competence would order the outright termination of the 
           Respondent's employment by the District.

This opinion of Mr. Michaels will be spoken to in a later section 
of this report.

Interview of Mr. Murin

Also included in this Report of Findings is correspondence from 
Edward J. Lynn, MD, MA, F.A.P.A. Medical Director, Life Stress 
Services, Carson-Tahoe Hospital, Carson City, Nevada.  This 
correspondence is further evidence that the Lassen Union High 
School Board of Trustees and Superintendent Leve have been 
sufficiently apprised by competent authority of the likelihood that 
Mr. Murin was engaging in behavior that is clearly abusive.  
Pertinent language in this review by Dr. Lynn, a board certified 
Psychiatrist, follows:

"Assuming that the allegations raised in the documents I
reviewed are factual, it would appear that Mr. Murin has not
been able to make the distinction between tough coaching and
abuse.  The affidavits describe behavior that was clearly
abusive to the children in the coach's charge.  Neither verbal
nor physical abuse has ever been supported as useful 
pedagogic techniques in training our youth.  Quite to the 
contrary, these traumatic insulting, demeaning and punishing 
interventions by a teacher/coach are likely to provoke 
significant negative psychological sequelae."

"In my own community. I would be bound by State Law to report
such indicators of child abuse to the authorities.  I would be
pleased to respond to any questions members of the Board 
might have regarding my clinical opinion."

Having this correspondence, they were compelled by the California 
Penal Code to report such suspected child abuse to the appropriate 
agency.  No such action, nor any appropriate action was taken by this 
School Board or by Superintendent Leve.

As background, some of the allegations about Mr. Murin's abusive 
behavior were discussed with him in the presence of his attorney, 
Mr. Craig Kellison in Susanville, California on Tuesday, November 
22, 1989 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. approximately.

While Mr. Murin denies being a racist, it was pointed out for 
him that the allegations dealt not with his being a racist but 
with specific racial slurs by him, which he did not deny when 
given that opportunity.

In response to allegations of his obscenities, he denied ever 
having used language like that, avowing instead that he is a 
"good Christian who goes to church every Sunday."  Moments 
later Mr. Murin's attorney asserted that Mr. Murin had not used 
such obscenities or other abuses since 1986.

Interview of Rudolf H. Michaels

Mr. Michaels is a retired State Administrative Law Judge in 
private practice. He served as a consultant to the Lassen Union 
High School District in the spring of 1988 "merely to hear the 
Pratt complaint but not to investigate any of the allegations 
about Mr. Murin."  Mr. Michaels had knowledge of the twenty-two 
(22) signed affidavits but reported during the interview that he
had never read them.  When questioned as to what authority 
governed his actions in Susanville, Michaels indicated that he 
was merely a consultant to the Board of Trustees of the high 
school district without a specific assignment or objective.  His 
activity in these proceedings however, gave the seeming 
appearance of official court action. That is, he ruled on a 
dismissal motion and again on a motion to limit the scope of the 
hearing by Murin's attorney, engaged a court reporter to record
 testimony, swore witnesses, issued gag orders to witnesses 
and to the complainants; and, solely by fiat, denied to the 
complainants effective access to his report of findings by 
stamping each page of the report "Confidential."  Michaels' 
response to his legal authority was that he had none; he was 
"plowing new ground." On the expressed or implied 
restraint of access to his report of findings, his response was, 
"All you have to do is buy a stamp and pad and stamp it 

Interview with Marshall S. Leve

Superintendent Leve categorically denies the alleged 
misconduct of Murin on the one hand and on the other 
demonstrated for the purpose of the interview how a single 
muttered, barely audible obscenity by Murin was being blown 
out of proportion by the Pratts alleging that they
themselves were on a personal vendetta against Mr. Murin.

Leve either refused to provide or alternatively failed to 
find and produce documentary evidence that Murin's 
behavior was under the scrutiny and/or control of either 
school district where Murin is employed both, of which Leve 
superintends.  Leve stated that Murin's part-time employment 
in all its aspects as a coach in two sports at the high school 
is the sole province of the Board of Trustees.  He stated 
further that the Board had, in an action item of their agenda, 
required an evaluation of Murin's behavior.  Leve stated that 
he assigned John Kingston, Athletic Director to this task.  
Leve reported that Kingston did nothing to evaluate Murin's 
behavior because the assignment was "too vague".  
When told by Leve that no evaluation of Murin was done 
because the requirement was "too vague," the Board, 
as reported by Leve, accepted that and let the matter drop.

Leve is of the opinion that Mr. Murin's conduct is not the 
problem. Rather, the problem is that Dr. and Mrs. Pratt 
have complained unfairly about Mr. Murin's alleged 


Hearing Officer Michaels' recommendations and his 
"considered opinion" are not based on his investigation 
into the background or behavior of Mr. Murin, a fact 
which Michaels himself reported during the Intergroup 
Relations Office investigation.  The "consideration" 
upon which his opinion and recommendations are based 
cannot be existing law or he would have advised his 
employers of their potential jeopardy under the reporting 
requirements for child abuse. His "consideration" cannot 
be based on child welfare or child benefit as his moderate 
recommendations to the Lassen Union High School Board 
of Trustees do not speak to the protection of the physical, 
mental, moral or psychological well-being of the children 
whom they purport to serve.  One is at a loss to
discover the "consideration" of his considered opinion.

The behaviors and the teaching and coaching methods of 
Edward Frank Murin are heinous.  These grossly reprehensible 
behaviors and methods as reported and as are adjudged to 
be used by Mr. Murin in his daily conduct as a teacher and
athletic coach are of long standing and are widely known 
in the Susanville lay and professional communities.

A particularly reprehensible fact of Mr. Murin's pedagogical 
method is to control children in his classroom and in athletic 
training by selecting a single unknowing child from the group 
to be his "whipping boy" then to vilify and humiliate that 
girl or boy relentlessly as his announced means to control
the remainder of the children.  "Then the rest of the kids fall 
in line automatically."  In this, Murin offends against all of 
humanity in a way that cannot be proportioned for its enormity 
and for its lasting effects both on victims and witnesses..

It is axiomatic and fundamental that each of us bears 
individual responsibility for his/her behavior.  Therefore, 
the consequences for Murin's adjudged, not alleged misconduct 
over the years would in other communities be inescapable 
for him and for those who have the legislated responsibility 
for the protection of children and youth in California. However, 
this community from its school boards, all levels of law 
enforcement, individual school district administrators and 
coaches at all levels and the county schools office 
administration have had personal and/or direct knowledge 
of Murin's offenses against the children and youth of this 
community and against the teaching profession but have 
done nothing of substance either to bring Mr. Murin under 
subordination or to attempt to rehabilitate him.  Therefore, 
under the child abuse statutes of the Penal Code of the 
State of California all must share equally in the 
consequences for Murin's continued misconduct. They are 
hereby named additionally as individual respondents
in this investigation.

Mr. Murin's misconduct on certain issues is confirmed 
and adjudged by the private consultant hired by the 
Lassen Union High School Board of Trustees.

No action was ever taken by the Board or administration in 
spite of these glaring findings and the very timid 
recommendations drawn from them.  One is forced to 
conclude that children in Susanville are at risk but that
 the system which protects him and itself is sacrosanct.

The Lassen Union High School Board of Trustees' own hearing 
officer and this investigation find probable cause to believe that 
violations of child abuse and the unlawful discrimination 
statutes of the State of California have been committed by 
the parties referred to in this report.


Edward Frank Murin and the Lassen Union High School District 
and the Susanville Elementary School District have violated 
California Government Code Section 11135, 22 CCR 98101 
(a) (b) (c) (g) (i) and 22 CCR 98313 and 98314.

The Lassen Union High School Board of Trustees for the 
period in question, the Susanville Elementary School 
District Board of Trustees for the period in question, the 
County Superintendent of Schools, all appropriate 
leadership levels of local and county law enforcement, 
the Superintendent of the two school districts in question, 
and each as individuals of the administration and 
coaching staff of the two school districts in question are
 in violation of the reporting requirements for child abuse 
under the California Penal Code.


     1.   Forward this Report of Findings to Roger Wolfertz, 
           Staff Counsel, California State Department of 
           Education as directed.

     2.   File an accusation under 22 CCR 98347 and proceed under
          Government Code Section 11136 to a public hearing 
          pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 5 (commencing with 
          Section 11500) of this part to determine if a violation has 
          occurred and to address fairly the larger issues which are 
          outside the purview of the required investigation under the 
          unlawful discrimination statutes of the State of California.


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