A former principal and an ex-teacher are accused of failing to report child abuse at an Oklahoma school after a teacher’s aide was arrested for molesting 15 girls.
A new lawsuit alleges that the Perry school district and the school board failed to protect the elementary school students from 86-year-old Arnold Cowen.
Cowen pleaded not guilty to 19 felony charges of committing lewd or indecent acts to a child under 16, one count of making an indecent proposal and one count of possessing child porn. An investigator says Cowen has confessed to molesting students, according to the Oklahoman.
Kenda Miller, the former principal at Perry Upper Elementary School, and former teacher Jeffrey Sullins face misdemeanor charges of failing to report the abuse.
“Every vampire needs a keeper,” lawyer Cameron Spradling, who represents the victims, told News 4. “The vampire can’t exist without the keeper, and the administration, and the principal and the teacher were the keepers of Arnold Cowen. And, it’s time they meet justice.”
Miller is accused of telling one victim not to report Cowen because “it could get people in trouble,” according to the Oklahoman. He urged girls to “fist bump” the suspected molester instead of “hugging him.”
The former principal has asked that the charge against her be dismissed, while Sullins has pleaded not guilty.
The federal lawsuit was filed Friday in Oklahoma City and seeks unspecified damages from the school district and the school board. The lawsuit accuses school and district officials of showing “deliberate indifference” by failing to take action against Cowen.
He is accused of molesting kids at the school in 2016 and 2017, according to the Oklahoman. He continued his behavior even after the principal knew about the accusations and did not take action, according to the lawsuit obtained by the Oklahoman.
Investigators found more than 100 pornographic images and videos on Cowen’s computer at his home, according to the newspaper.