NINNEKAH, Okla. (KFOR) – A superintendent involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit has successfully overturned the suspension of his teaching license. This comes after he challenged his suspension in Oklahoma County District Court and a judge recommended the suspension be lifted earlier this week.
The State Department of Education accepted that recommendation and voted 4-0 to reinstate his license Friday morning.
Todd Bunch is one of five current and former Ninnekah employees named in an August lawsuit filed by 12 former girls basketball players.
The plaintiffs allege Bunch and others failed to act after their coach, Ronald Akins, was sexually inappropriate with them.
Although the vote reinstates Bunch’s license, the board’s general council has confirmed with News 4 they will proceed immediately toward a revocation hearing, although they don’t have an exact timeline.
Bunch’s attorney, Mark Hammons, maintains his client had no knowledge of the allegations.
“They don’t have a basis to revoke his license – there are no facts nor a legal basis for them to take this action,” he said. “It’s not a question of him ignoring any complaints or reports. The issue is he didn’t get any complaints or reports.”
Hammons says Bunch couldn’t have acted on information he didn’t know.
“The kids who are the alleged victims in this case did not make a report to the school, did not make a report to their parents,” he said. “The report was made to a deputy sheriff after the fact, and as soon as we know of that, he took appropriate action. That’s really all any person can do.”
KFOR reached out to parents and residents for their reaction, and although no one was able to speak on camera, resident Joseph Morris explained over the phone that members of the community thought his suspension was the end of all their issues. This proves that the situation isn’t over.
“Everybody in our community, they thought that once he got suspended and the state revoked his license that, ‘Oh, we’re good to go, we’re good to go,'” he said. “I said, ‘We’re not good to go. You people need to stay focused…he still has a contract.’ ‘Cause [if] his license gets reinstated, he still has a job in Ninnekah.”
Other parents and community members have reached out to News 4. One said, “This is a slap in the face to our community, more importantly our children.” Another parent added that Bunch has “put many students in danger with a lack of care, common sense and unethical practices.” A third said the whole administration is made up of “good ole boys” atmosphere, adding, “They all protect each other, which is why nothing was done.”
News 4 spoke with the Grady County Sheriff’s Office about any ongoing investigation into Bunch. They indicated they have passed on that investigation to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. News 4 reached out to OSBI but have not received a response.
We also tried to contact the school to see whether the superintendent would be permitted to teach at the school again, but no one was available.