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Lawsuit OK’d; prison tutor says he suspected GED cheating


A Michigan prison inmate says he was transferred and lost his job as a tutor after complaining that teachers were supplying answers to a high school equivalency test. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith declined to dismiss the lawsuit, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday, which means it will go to trial or be settled. Munin Kathawa, 57, who is serving a life sentence for murder, sued five people, including a deputy warden, claiming his rights were violated.

He said he reported his concerns about cheating in 2018 to a state lawmaker and a Catholic priest. “There is no dispute that Kathawa was an excellent tutor,” Goldsmith said. “Nonetheless, he was removed from his position. ... A jury could reasonably infer that Kathawa was terminated as retaliation for making comments about the GED program and other matters.” Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz declined to comment.

Kathawa said he was falsely accused of being a safety threat and removed as a tutor. A teacher, Laura Bendele, testified in a deposition that she was pressured by officials to stick to that story but refused.

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