Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Federal lawsuit filed against Oklahoma school district accused of hiding child abuse

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PERRY, Okla. - An Oklahoma school district is facing a federal lawsuit.

According to documents, the lawsuit was filed Friday against the Perry School District for failing to report child abuse by 86-year-old Arnold Cowen, a former teacher's assistant.

New information in the documents reveal Scott Chenoweth, who resigned as superintendent, texted at least one school board member about Cowen molesting students. The text was allegedly sent weeks before two of the victims' families went to police on their own.

Arnold Cowen

“Every vampire needs a keeper," said attorney Cameron Spradling, who represents some of the victims. "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.”

Spradling said the district hid the situation from authorities to preserve its reputation.

“They were ready to sacrifice 15 or more little girls, fifth grade girls, to protect their wrestling reputation — the Perry tradition,” he said.

Spradling said he expects the civil trial to begin in 2018.

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