Former teaching assistant pleads guilty to molesting girls at Oklahoma school

Arnold Cowen leaves Noble County court. (KOKH/FILE)

A former teacher's aide has pleaded guilty to molesting girls at an Oklahoma elementary school.

Noble County court records show that 86-year-old Arnold Cowen pleaded guilty Feb. 22 to 20 counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child under 6 and one count of aggravated possession of child pornography.

Cowen was sentenced 20 years for each count but under the plea agreement was only ordered to serve 10 years in Department of Corrections custody, the balance of his sentence will then be suspended. He then faces probation and must register as a sex offender.

Cowen was arrested in January 2017. The former Perry Upper Elementary teaching assistant was convicted of fondling girls’ breasts, giving prolonged hugs and “Eskimo kisses.” The girls were ages 10 to 13 at the time of the crimes. Court documents accuse Cowen of admitting to the acts, and telling police there could be more victims. It’s unclear how many more because Cowen said his memory was “foggy.”

The former principal of the school and a former math teacher face misdemeanors that accuse them of failing to report the crimes.

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