School Board Extends Perry Superintendent's Suspension
PERRY, Oklahoma - Four additional charges were presented to the Noble County District Attorney Tuesday after more children came forward in the case against former teaching assistant Arnold Cowen, according to Perry Police Chief Brian Thomas.
Cowen, 85, currently faces 22 counts of felony child sex crimes after he admitted to police he had inappropriately touched students at Perry's Upper Elementary School.
Upper Elementary Principal Kenda Miller and teacher Jeffrey Sullins are on paid administrative leave after they were charged for allegedly not reporting the incidents to police.
In a reconvened special meeting Tuesday evening, the school board in Perry voted to keep Superintendent Scott Chenoweth on paid administrative leave. This came after board members spent nearly two hours behind closed doors.
Chenoweth had been on suspension since February 13.
"Our community is grieving. There's so much pain out there. The board wants everybody to come together for the common goal of working through this process," said member Jason Proctor after Tuesday's vote.
The board and the attorney for the school district, Bryan K. Drummond, would not explain why Chenoweth was suspended in the first place.
Cameron Spradling, attorney for seven of the victims told News 9:
"Our Perry families are sick and tired of now four meetings that are designed only to be held in secret. They want answers and they want the truth."
He also added:
"If they cannot step forward and provide a clear path out of this horror, they should step out of the way."
The board asked the community for patience and understanding.
"Information doesn't come freely and that's what we are wrestling with. We have got to step back and allow law enforcement to do their job and we are accountable for doing what we can as well," Proctor said.