Ethics Data Online - Articles

"4 accused coaches could lose positions"
Christine Willmsen and Maureen O'Hagan, Seattle Times staff reporters
Sunday, January 26, 2004

Four coaches with histories of sexual-misconduct complaints are under investigation by their schools or the state and may lose their positions as a result.

The four men were named last month in The Seattle Times' series "Coaches who prey," which revealed systemic problems that allow coaches to continue working with children despite a history of sexual misconduct. The Times found that 159 coaches have been reprimanded or fired for sexual misconduct in the past decade, and 98 of them continued to coach or teach.

Steve Diaz

Steve Diaz, a former teacher and coach in the Royal School District in Grant County, may be kicked out of the Seattle University School of Law for failing to reveal a criminal conviction on his enrollment application, said Rudy Hasl, dean of the school.

Diaz was convicted in 2001 of one count of assault with sexual motivation, in connection with a 13-year-old student's claim that he forced her to give him oral sex in his classroom. (The conviction was the result of an Alford plea, which means the defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that if the case went to trial he'd likely be found guilty.)
" We have a specific question (on the application), 'Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?' " Hasl said. "Prior to the news story coming out, we had no information about any conviction or any incident."

Law schools generally consider applicants with criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis, so admitting to the conviction wouldn't necessarily have prohibited Diaz from attending, Hasl said. However, a criminal conviction coupled with a lack of truthfulness could cause problems for a law student who wants to be admitted to the bar association, Hasl said.

Diaz, who had been president of the American Bar Association Student Section at Seattle University, is not attending classes, according to Hasl, and the school is "in discussions" with his attorneys.

Luke Markishtum

The North Kitsap School District has placed Markishtum on leave while it investigates statements he made on his job application in 2000.

North Kitsap asks applicants to say whether they have ever been "dismissed, discharged or separated employment in order to avoid discipline or discharge." Chris Case, a spokeswoman for North Kitsap, declined to offer specifics of the investigation.

Markishtum, 68, left American Indian Heritage Secondary, a Seattle high school, after a 1995 incident in which he was accused of grabbing a girl by the shirt and trying to kiss her.

According to two decades of complaints in Markishtum's Seattle personnel file, he groped and kissed girls at the school, bought beer for athletes, falsified their grades so they'd be eligible to play, had sex with his girlfriend on campus and hugged his female students and had them sit on his lap.

He also was caught in a 6-ton marijuana-smuggling operation in 1981 but agreed to give federal authorities evidence in the case in exchange for avoiding criminal charges.

After the kissing incident, Seattle school officials reached an agreement with Markishtum that if he would leave the district, they would pay him $69,000 and not tell prospective employers about the allegations. Case said North Kitsap hired Markishtum without knowing any of it.

Stephen Milionis

The Newport School District in Pend Oreille County has put Milionis, a coach and counselor, on suspension while it investigates whether he lied about his record of sexual misconduct on his job application.

On Sept. 1, 1998, Idaho authorities suspended Milionis from teaching for one year after investigating him for having sex with a 14-year-old girl on his basketball team.
Later that month, Milionis was back in public schools, this time in Washington as a counselor and basketball coach for the Oroville School District in Okanogan County. He later took the job at Newport High School.

John M. Taylor

Formerly a successful volleyball and softball coach in the Oakesdale School District in Whitman County, Taylor is under investigation by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public

Instruction for not following restrictions the agency put on him when it gave him a three-year stayed suspension in 2000 for sexual misconduct.

The suspension stemmed from complaints from Oakesdale that Taylor repeatedly made sexual innuendoes to players and routinely made girls change into their uniforms on the bus while he was able to watch.

Under the terms of the probation, Taylor had to notify the state superintendent's office if he moved to a new district. And if he took a job in another state, he had to inform that state's education office about his misconduct.

But he didn't comply with these requirements when he moved to Utah and began teaching math in 2001 at a Jordan School District middle school in Sandy, Utah.

The school knew nothing of Taylor's past until a Times reporter inquired.

A human-resources director for the Jordan schools said the district was going to fire him for violating the terms of his suspension in Washington, if he didn't quit first. Taylor resigned.
The state can suspend or revoke Taylor's license, making him unable to teach in Washington schools.