PERRY, Okla. – A former Oklahoma principal has pleaded no contest to charges that she failed to report child abuse or neglect.
Last January, 86-year-old Arnold Cowen was arrested after more than 10 girls at Perry Upper Elementary School came forward saying the teacher’s aid had touched them inappropriately during class.
Students as young as 10-years-old complained Cowen fondled them and touched their breasts, according to arrest affidavits, sometimes during “lengthy hugs and inappropriate touches.”
Police also arrested the Perry Upper Elementary School principal, Kenda Miller.
According to court documents, several students told Miller about the lewd acts, but she told them that it must have been a mistake.
The arrest affidavit alleges that Miller “believed these reports to be false, since she knew Cowen to be of great moral character and was a very ‘nice guy.”
Miller went on to tell detectives that she had received complaints in the past, but never reported the allegations to police.
“We have had these allegations on Cowen before, but we determined they were fabricated by the students,” Miller reportedly said.
In all, officials say 13 students told Miller about inappropriate touching by Cowen, but Miller reportedly told them not to hug Cowen and just ‘fist bump’ him instead.
He pleaded guilty to the charges last month.
Miller was charged with failing to report child abuse or neglect, and she resigned from her position with the school district.
On Thursday, Miller pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to a five-year deferred sentence.