COMPLAINTS FOUNDED: Mihalovich Investigation

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WHO-TV has obtained the Des Moines Public School District’s investigative reports regarding Lincoln High School football coach, Tom Mihalovich and assistant coaches, Larry Gamblin and Kevin Johnston.

The district placed Mihalovich and his assistants on paid, administrative leave on September 5, following allegations they harassed, bullied and inflicted corporal punishment on Dante Campero, a then Lincoln High football player, after Campero tweeted unflattering remarks about the team on August 31.

Campero walked off the practice field on September 3, after he says he was forced to stand in front of the varsity team and recite the offensive tweet.  He says Mihalovich yelled obscenities at him and allowed the varsity team members to direct threatening statements and derogatory remarks toward him.  Campero claimed he was forced to run for two hours, without water.  The investigation does not confirm that, but it does conclude the exercise demanded of Campero was retaliatory and excessive.

According to the personnel investigation by the Des Moines Public Schools Human Resources Department, Mihalovich, Gamblin and Johnston violated the district’s anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies.  The investigation also concludes Mihalovich and his assistant coaches inflicted corporal punishment on Campero by forcing the former Lincoln High football player to exercise excessively during a practice following Campero’s tweet.

In addition, the investigation concludes Mihalovich engaged in “unethical behavior… intimidation and retaliation.”  It goes on to say, Mihalovich was insubordinate when he communicated with staff while on paid, administrative leave and disclosed confidential information regarding the investigation to the public.

The Des Moines School District says it is withholding comment until the process of determining Mihalovich’s employment status is complete.

The attorney for Coach Tom Mihalovich released a statement Thursday on the findings of the investigation. 

Marc Ward said “Coach Tom Mihalovich disagrees with many of the statements and the credibility of some of the witnesses.”  The statement goes on to say, “Tom Mihalovich is stunned by many of the assertions in this preliminary report and is shocked the report was released publicly.”

Ward also adds Mihalovich is considering filing a grievance over the release of the reports in the investigation.

Read the investigation against Mihalovich.

Read the investigation against Gamblin.

Read the investigation against Johnston.