Perry educators suspended amid child abuse case

Feb 24, 2017 Updated

PERRY, Okla. (AP) — The Perry Board of Education has suspended the teaching certificates of a teacher and principal accused of failing to report alleged child abuse.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister brought Miller and Sullins' certificates before the board Thursday, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2lDHKgn ) reported.

Upper Elementary principal Kenda Miller and fifth-grade math teacher Jeffrey Sullins are charged with failure to promptly report child abuse or neglect.

They were suspended with pay by the Perry Public Schools board after their arrests this earlier this week.

The educators could request a continuance of any proceedings until the criminal investigation is resolved.

The charges came after 85-year-old teaching assistant Arnold Cowen was accused of inappropriately touching girls, ages 10 to 13.

A police affidavit alleges he told authorities he molested female students in class and initiated unwelcome hugs.

Cowen was charged with 18 counts of lewd or indecent proposals or acts on a child under age 16. He was also charged with one count of child pornography.

Police said further investigation could lead to additional counts against Cowen.

Miller and Sullins told authorities they didn't report allegations to law enforcement, the Department of Human Services or parents because they thought the girls were lying.

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