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Former teacher aide sentenced for abuse

PERRY  A former teaching assistant who pleaded guilty to molesting 10 girls at an elementary school was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Arnold Cowen, 86, pleaded guilty Thursday to 21 felonies in a deal with prosecutors. Under the agreement, he'll serve at least 8 years with 10 years' probation and register as a sex offender.

Noble County District Attorney Brian Hermanson said the deal was made in part to spare the victims' families more pain if forced to go to trial.

"We were also aware that the defendant would turn 87 years old next week and with these crimes being such that he would have to serve 85 percent of the time assessed, we knew any sentence would be a life sentence," he said. "In talking to the families, they understood and did not object to this sentence."

Cowen was charged with inappropriately touching 10 girls ages 10 to 13 at Upper Elementary School in Perry. He also was accused of having more than 100 pornographic images and videos on his home computer.

Former Principal Kenda Miller and former teacher Jeffrey Sullins face misdemeanors accusing them of failing to promptly report accusations against Cowen.

The Lawton Constitution

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