Teacher's aide, 86, accused of molesting 15 girls at school

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.

Teacher scandals, crimes and accusations throughout history
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Teacher scandals, crimes and accusations throughout history
Mary Kay LeTourneau, the former teacher who pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old student and then having a child from the affair. Le Tourneau would later marry the student, Vili Fualaau, and the two would have two daughters together.

(Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

John Mark Karr, is the teacher who falsely confessed to killing  child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

(AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Debra Lafave pleaded guilty in 2005 to sexual encounters with one of her middle school students.

(Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images)

Tad Cummins, a former Tennessee high school teacher accused of kidnapping a teenage student and taking her from Tennessee to California.

(Courtesy SCSO/Handout via REUTERS)

Pamela Smart, a former high school media coordinator was convicted of enlisting several teenagers to murder her husband. 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Rachel Respess (L) and Shelley Dufresne, both high school teachers in Louisiana, were arrested in 2014 on suspicion of having group sex with a 16-year-old boy at one of the teacher's apartments, according to authorities.

(REUTERS/Kenner Police Department/Handout)

Samantha Lee Ciotta is accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student while she was a high school English teacher and cheerleading coach at Beaumont High School in California. 

(Photo via Beaumont Police Department)

Former teacher James Hooker left his wife and children to  move in with his 18-year-old student, Jordan Powers. The two reportedly briefly broke up after Hooker was arrested on charges of sexual assault against another student back in 1998.

(Debbie Noda/Modesto Bee/MCT via Getty Images)

Christopher Paul Neil, a former teacher, is a convicted sex offender who gained notoriety for the digitally-distorted images of his face he posted online.

(Photo by Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images)


"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.

With News Wire Services

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