405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

School Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks Oklahoma Town

20-Feb-2017

At least three people have been arrested in connection with sex abuse allegations at a Perry elementary school. Several girls from the Perry Upper Elementary School have accused a teacher's aide of sexually molesting them, and police say at least two school employees ignored them when they tried to tell what happened. 

Arnold Cowen, 85, was a teacher's assistant at the school when he was arrested on January 27 after being accused of sexually molesting at least ten girls, aged 10-13 years old. He was subsequently charged with nearly two dozen felony sex crimes, including 18 counts of lewd acts to a child under 16, two counts of indecent proposals to a child under 16, and one count of possession of child pornography.

According to reports, Cowen admitted the molestation and identified seven victims by name and said that there were others whose names he did not know, but whom he could identify through pictures. He reportedly told police that he fondled the girls' breasts and touched their bodies inappropriately during class and in the hallways of the school.

While the allegations of sexual assault at the school are shocking enough on their own, the alleged failure of the school to protect the children is what has really rocked this town of about 5,000 people to its core.

After Cowen's arrest, police also arrested the school's principal, Kendra Miller, 51, and a classroom teacher, Jeffrey Sullins, 51, on complaints that they failed to report the alleged assaults after the girls complained that they were being molested by the teaching assistant.

Miller is charged with one count of failure to report abuse or neglect, and Sullins is charged with two counts. Failure to report abuse is a misdemeanor.

Miller reportedly admitted to police that she was aware of the allegations against Cowen, but that she did not take action. Police say the principal told them, "We have had these allegations on Cowen before, but we determined they were fabricated by the students." Students say they told Miller about the sexual contact, and she told them to give him fist-bumps or high-fives instead of hugs. The principal's attorney is asking a judge to dismiss the charge.
Sullins likewise told police that he did not notify DHS or law enforcement about the girls' allegations because he believed they were lying.

The Perry school board voted to suspend Superintendent Scott Chenoweth, but at a closed meeting last week, delayed taking further action against him.

Perry Assistant Police Chief Forrest Smith says that he believes the investigation will result in the discovery of more victims and will lead to further charges against Cowen. He also reported that he continues to investigate the possibility of other faculty and staff members who may have heard of the girls' complaints and declined to report them.



All News

More News

Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Commit Suicide Convicted of Manslaughter
19-Jun-2017

In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III attempted to take his own..

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Warrantless Cell Phone Location Search Violates Fourth Amendment
12-Jun-2017

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that cou..

Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Stabbing Death of Roommate
09-Jun-2017

A 72-year-old man is ordered to spend four years in prison after s..

Trial Delayed for Second Brother in Broken Arrow Quintuple Murder
29-May-2017

Shortly before midnight on July 22, 2015, police in Broken Arrow r..

Criminal Appeals Court Upholds Death Sentence for Triple-Murderer
26-May-2017

For the second time, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has af..

Poorly written bill leaves lawsuit loophole; Governor signs anyway
22-May-2017

When drafting legislation, it is imperative that language is clear..

Not Guilty Verdict in Tulsa Police Shooting; Officer's Job Status under Evaluation
19-May-2017

After nine hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict o..

Man Exonerated in Rape Case Awarded Compensation
15-May-2017

An Oklahoma man who was exonerated of rape after spending 13 years..

Trial Begins in Tulsa Police Shooting Case
08-May-2017

Jury selection begins today in the manslaughter case of Tulsa poli..

Oklahoma Death Penalty Remains on Hiatus
05-May-2017

It has been almost exactly three years since the botched execution..

×