Perry superintendent resigns following allegations former teaching assistant inappropriately touched young students
PERRY, Okla. – A Perry superintendent has resigned following allegations that a former teaching assistant inappropriately touched at least 20 elementary students.
Arnold Cowen, 85, is charged with 22 counts of lewd acts with a child under 16.
Cowen was arrested back in February on the charges.
Students as young as 10 complained Cowen fondled them and touched their breasts, according to arrest affidavits, sometimes during “lengthy hugs and inappropriate touches.”
Kenda Miller, the school’s principal, and 5th grade math teacher, Jeffrey Sullins, also face criminal charges after police say they failed to report the accusations.
According to court documents, Miller fielded multiple complaints from students, but told them they had to be accidental.
Police said, when Sullins was told of inappropriate touching, he told the student she was “making stuff up,” at one point taking her into the hallway and calling her a liar, documents show.
As a result, students told police they were afraid to tell their parents about the interactions and often would cry in the bathroom.
After Cowen, Miller and Sullins were charged, the school board started discussing the employment of the district’s superintendent, Scott Chenoweth.
Chenoweth has been on paid administrative leave for several months.
Now we know that Chenoweth has decided to resign.
“Mr. Chenoweth has elected to resign his position with the district to pursue other ventures and the board of education approved the resignation agreement after discussion in executive session,” Perry Public Schools said in a news release.
As part of his resignation, he will receive a one-time payment of $76,042, school officials said.