Lawsuit filed against former Oklahoma counselor accused of spanking clients

OKLAHOMA - A former metro counselor is being sued for spanking his clients.

Also named in the lawsuit is the company he contracted through.

The victims are looking to be compensated for physical and emotional damages.

Former drug and alcohol counselor David Wayne Cunningham is convicted of assault and battery.

He was sentenced to pay fines and probation, after prosecutors said he spanked two of his underage clients.

According to court documents, one victim said Cunningham “took him to an unknown residence and struck him on the rear with a wood paddle and leather belt on several occasions.”

The victim said Cunningham told him “he needed to know what would happen, if he violated his probation.”

"I just don't know on what planet that somebody would think that was an appropriate means of counseling," said Michael A. Trevino, a legal analyst.

Cunningham was contracted through 21 Days 2 Change.

Now, the victims are working to sue that company and their former counselor.

"Can you unspank these kids? Right? There's no way to really do that. So, it will be up to the judge and, most likely, ultimately, a jury to determine whether or not there is an amount of money that can compensate them for what has been taken," Trevino said.

The filing states the counseling company failed to properly train and supervise Cunningham and “conduct a proper background check.”

It also claims neither the company nor Cunningham had the “proper certification/s required by law to provide the counseling services” to the victims.

"The discovery process is what's going to be needed to figure out whether or not 21 days is liable for the acts of Mr. Cunningham," Trevino said.

NewsChannel 4 found out, back in 2011, Cunningham also lost his social workers license.

We tried reaching out to him, but our attempts were unsuccessful.

When NewsChannel 4 spoke to those with 21 Days 2 Change Thursday afternoon, they said they did not know about the suit and did not want to comment.