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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Criminal justice professors focus of Title IX complaint

Two Spokane Community College criminal justice professors are the subject of an internal investigation for allegedly making sexist and racist comments in class and then threatening a student after she complained.

The complaint was brought against professors Mike Prim, a former Spokane police lieutenant and the current chairman of the department, and Gary Johns, a former Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy.

The investigation should be finalized in late March or early April, said Greg Stevens, chief administration officer and Title IX coordinator for Community Colleges of Spokane.

“This one is complex,” he said. “It goes back quite a period of time.”

Neither Prim nor Johns returned calls seeking comment.

According to the complaint filed with the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Title IX office, the complainant, a black woman, was enrolled in Prim’s human relations class in January when he spoke about gender differences.

Prim presented a PowerPoint slide to the class about what men need from women in a relationship. According to the complaint, the slide read: “1) a woman to show up naked and 2) a woman to bring him beer.”

Shortly afterward, Prim allegedly said children are a woman’s responsibility because of a “woman’s right to abortion” and claimed women act like victims when they get pregnant.

According to the complaint, the woman objected to Prim’s comments in class. He accused her of being argumentative, and she left midway through the session.

Several days later, Prim and Johns arranged a meeting with her and tried to force her to sign a report accusing her of misconduct, the complaint says. She refused, and Prim and Johns subsequently tried to have her suspended, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges racism and discrimination dating back to the winter of 2015. At that time, the woman was enrolled in a minority studies class with Prim and claims he told the class, “Black people over-exaggerate racism and that is why it still exists.”

That spring, the woman said she tried to report that another criminal justice teacher slept with a student while on a trip organized by a student group. When she brought her concerns to Prim and Johns, they kicked her out of the group, the complaint said. When she threatened to file a complaint regarding the matter, Johns told her he would “make sure you never have a career in law enforcement, and a lot of things will be exposed, so I suggest you take this home over the weekend and think about it,” according to the complaint.

The woman said she didn’t submit a complaint at that time because “he threatened my future.” The woman declined to speak on the record about the alleged incidents. Her name has been redacted from a copy of the complaint provided to the newspaper following a public records request.

Stevens, the Title IX coordinator, said he didn’t think either professor had ever had a Title IX complaint filed against them before.

When the investigation is concluded the findings will be presented to college administrators for any disciplinary actions.

Title IX protects against discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal money.

There are about 100 students enrolled in the criminal justice program at SCC. Johns has taught at SCC for 25 years, and Prim has taught there 35 years.