Ex-Oklahoma teacher gets probation for not reporting abuse
PERRY, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma math teacher has been sentenced to five years’ probation for not reporting child abuse by a teacher’s aide.
Jeffrey Sullins, 52, was sentenced Monday after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of failing to promptly report child abuse or neglect, The Oklahoman reported. He entered his plea under an agreement with prosecutors, who dropped a second misdemeanor count.
Sullins resigned in June from Upper Elementary School in Perry, where Arnold Cowen molested girls while working as an aide. Cowen, 86, is serving 10 years in prison after pleading guilty last month to molesting 10 girls.
Police records show Sullins told investigators that he didn’t report the allegations because he thought the girls were lying. He described Cowen as a “model instructor.”
Advocates of the victims read statements in court on behalf of the children.
“You took me in the hall and yelled so loud and called me a liar,” one child’s statement said of Sullins. “You said I knew I was lying and it never happened.”
The school’s former principal, Kendra Miller, pleaded no contest under an agreement last month to the misdemeanor count and was also sentenced to five years’ probation. Miller acknowledged at the sentencing that she didn’t immediately report the abuse.
Parents of the victims have filed a federal lawsuit against Perry Public Schools and the Board of Education alleging school officials showed “deliberate indifference” by failing to remove or report Cowen after he was accused of sexual misconduct.