Tonight Perry Public Schools admits they did not do enough to protect their students from a child predator.
The district reached a settlement with families of 14 students who were inappropriately touched by a former teacher's aide.
It'll now pay out $3.5 million over three years.
The attorney representing the 14 families tells me they are exhausted and decided to take the settlement so that their children don’t have to continue to relive a nightmare.
“You've just got shattered families and you’ve got a shattered child, and you’ve got shattered trust in your community,” said Attorney Cameron Spradling.
One after another 10,11, and 12 year old girls went to school officials and told them Arnold Cowan was touching them.
“Fifth grade and sixth grade girls were chastised by the principal and teachers, that this nice old man couldn’t be doing these things to them,” said Spradling.
Instead of sounding the alarm, Attorney Cameron Spradling says Perry Public school officials from the top down turned a blind eye.
“It is their institution they are trying to protect its their little kingdom. So they didn’t want to report this to the authorities,” said Spradling.
The girls were told they couldn’t be trusted.
“They had made a predetermined that these girls were fabricating the story, they predetermined the girls were liars, they referred to the girls as drama queens,” said Spradling.
Had it not been for two strong girls Spradling says Cowan would still be in the classroom and not behind bars.
“They were both 5th graders and they made a pact and they said if you tell your mom I’ll tell my mom,” said Spradling.
As a result of the settlement the case won’t go to trial come April--something Cowan's victims are at peace with.
"One child has attempted suicide, we hold fast for her, another girl is terminally ill. I don’t even know if shed make it to an April 9 trial date,” said Spradling.
Perry Public Schools did not respond to a request for comment.