Sexual Assault Victims Sue Perry Schools Over Failure To Report - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |


Sexual Assault Victims Sue Perry Schools Over Failure To Report Abuse

Posted: Updated:
PERRY, Oklahoma -

A federal lawsuit was filed Friday against the Perry school district and school board over failing to report child sex abuse by teacher's aide Arnold Cowen, according to the document.

Cowen pleaded not guilty to an aggravated child pornography charge and 19 counts of lewd acts with a child, but, while he is awaiting trial, his victims want to hold administrators accountable.

The 31-page lawsuit states that in December 2016, four of the young victims were crying together in the Perry Upper Elementary School bathroom because they were not believed when they reported their abuse, but this Christmas, they are finally starting to feel a sense of vindication.

New information is revealed in the lawsuit that alleges now-ousted Perry superintendent Scott Chenoweth texted at least one school board member about Arnold Cowen molesting students, weeks before two of the victims' families finally went to police on their own.

“Perry wants to hold itself out as the Perry wrestling tradition, and what they’ve done by hiding a predator, is they’ll always be known as the Perry sex abuse scandal,” said attorney Cameron Spradling, who is representing the 15 victims.

Chenoweth is now employed by the University of Central Oklahoma as an assistant wrestling coach. 

Spradling said administrators violated the girls' right to due process and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He is also suing for negligence for district policies that discouraged reporting Cowen's abuse to police. In this federal lawsuit, he also says the school district also failed to protect the victims' Title IX right to an equal education.

“How are you going to have an education, a good education, in a school where you’re a little girl who’s being molested by a school volunteer?” Spradling said.

News 9 has previously reported that principal Kenda Miller and teacher Jeff Sullins are facing criminal charges after refuting the girls' claims that Cowen felt them up in class and in hallways, telling the students that Cowen was a good guy, but that facade quickly faded during the police investigation.

“Cowen was ready to confess and did confess the minute (he was) confronted,” Spradling said.

Spradling and the victims’ families wonder how many more victims there are, and how much of the abuse might have been prevented if someone had reported Cowen to police sooner. They hope to find out in federal court, and they are seeking an unspecified amount in damages from the district.

The criminal trials for Cowen, Sullins and Miller are scheduled to start in March.

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.


Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103 is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.