Daughter, alleged victim of former Peckham superintendent speaks out on his abuse

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BLACKWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – The former superintendent of Peckham Schools is on house arrest after he was charged with six felony counts, including alleged sex acts with children, and is now the focus of a civil lawsuit filed by his daughter, one of his alleged victims.

Young was charged with three counts of lewd acts to a child under 16, two counts of causing, procuring or permitting injury or sex abuse to a child and blackmail.

Hours after he was charged, a civil lawsuit was filed in federal court on behalf of Ashlee Tollett, Young’s daughter. She gave KFOR permission to identify her as a victim of sexual abuse.

“I knew nothing different, it was my normal,” Tollett said.

Now living out-of-state, Tollett was reached by phone Thursday.

“For me, my abuse started so early and just carried through my whole time as a child into becoming a teenager,” she said.

The federal complaint alleges the abuse stretches back to when Tollett was a young child.

“It stems back to the age of three when a babysitter went to my mom and dad and told them that I was exhibiting signs of abuse and nothing was done,” Tollett said. “And if anything my dad taunted me with that information about the babysitter.”

The lawsuit alleges Young would do things like touch Tollett inappropriately, expose himself to her, frequently walk in on her while she was undressing and videotape her.

“A lot of it was psychological and emotional sexual abuse in addition to physical things,” Tollett said. “They would be just enough to cross the line, but sometimes not enough to, I think, scare me into running to call the police or that type of thing.”

But it was enough to prevent her from ever having a close relationship with her father, and to keep her distance from him as she grew older. She said as a child she was made to feel guilty if she pulled away from him, and was manipulated out of exposing him, not wanting to risk damaging her family unit.

It all began to unravel this summer as victims in the community told their stories to Tollett.

“After finding out about 15 or more people, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s a sexual predator,’” she said. “There were so many victims that everyone knew there was something going on, but his abuse was done in such a way that every victim was made to feel like it was individualized.”

News 4 tried to reach Young at his home where he’s under house arrest, as well as on the phone, but he hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

When the allegations first arose, many in the community jumped to Young’s defense.

The move didn’t surprise Tollett, who said he was good at revealing his best side and hiding a secretive, controlling and manipulative side.

“Some people I don’t blame or fault; they may want to defend him or wanted to,” Tollett said, “But now it’s clear. The evidence is overwhelming as to who he is.”

It’s taken all this time to finally begin to process the years of abuse, but Tollett is hoping that by coming out publicly, she’ll help other victims of abuse find the courage and support to come forward themselves.

She also said she hopes to see communities become more vigilant in watching out for children who may be victims of abuse.

“I hope that not just myself, but other victims that will be going up against him possibly will be able to get their day in court and there will be healing,” Tollett said. “I really, really just pray that there can be healing for everyone and that he is held accountable for his crimes because it’s gone on too long, too many victims.”

Young is scheduled to be back in court February 13.

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