Can Your Children Talk To You

.jpg photo of man accused of Child Abuse
Arnold Cowen, 85

Perry principal, teacher resign after
accusations of hiding Child Abuse

PERRY, OK  –  A Perry school principal and a teacher have resigned after allegations they both failed to report child abuse or neglect.

The Perry Public School Board of Education met Monday night to vote on whether or not to accept the resignations of 5th grade math teacher Jeffrey Sullins and Upper Elementary School Principal Kendra Miller.

The board approved the resignation agreements, KFOR crews confirmed.

Miller and Sullins each face misdemeanor counts after failing to report accusations of sexual abuse against their students.

Police arrested 85-year-old teaching assistant Arnold Cowen earlier this year on accusations he inappropriately touched at least seven girls.

The assistant chief told NewsChannel 4 at least 20 children may have been victims, likely over the course of several years.

At least 10 students may have been victimized in 2017, according to court documents, when Perry Upper Elementary School Principal Miller dismissed past allegations and failed to notify police or the victim’s parents.

Students as young as 10 complained Cowen fondled them and touched their breasts, according to arrest affidavits, sometimes during “lengthy hugs and inappropriate touches.”

According to court documents, Miller fielded multiple complaints from students but told them they had to be accidental.

“Principal Kendra Miller tells her that it’s possible, that Cowen has long arms and, when he reaches around to hug her, his long arms touch her boobs,” one student told police, according to the affidavit. “Principal Kendra Miller tells her to refrain from hugging Cowen and to only ‘fist bump’ him.”

As a result, students told police they were afraid to tell their parents about the interactions and often would cry in the bathroom.

During interviews with other teachers, police were told “Cowen was definitely the victim of false accusations and he was a model instructor and of great help to the school.”

Miller told police, according to court documents, police were not told of the complaints because they were “deemed to be false by her staff and herself.  Stating, ‘we have had these allegations on Cowen before, but we determined they were fabricated by the students.’”

In interviews with police, Miller said Cowen’s of “great moral character and was a very ‘nice guy.”

Police said, when Sullins was told of inappropriate touching, he told the student she was “making stuff up,” at one point taking her into the hallway and calling her a liar, documents show.

“[The student] was escorted to the office to see Principal Kendra Miller, but since she was not available, [the student] was sent back to class, where she continued to work with Cowen,” according to the affidavit.  “Sullins did allude to the fact that a majority of the teachers were aware of the incident/accusations.”

Cowen faces more than 20 counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child as well as child pornography possession charges.

Miller was charged with one misdemeanor count for failing to report child abuse or neglect.  Her court hearing is scheduled for April 27.

Sullins has been charged with two counts of failure to report child abuse or neglect.  He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Both Miller and Sullins had their teaching license revoked by the State Board of Education last month under emergency orders.

Abilene Conference To Train And Solutions For Child Abuse

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Abilene Christian University graduate, Jennifer Sterling, said she suffered with abuse for as long as she can remember.

Speaker shares battle with Child Abuse at Champion for Children conference

ABILENE, Texas  –  An Abilene Christian University graduate stood in front of a room full of child abuse prevention professionals and detailed her battle with child abuse as part of her keynote address Friday.

Jennifer Sterling said she suffered with abuse for as long as she can remember.  She said some of her earliest memories are of her mother yelling at her, her older brother molesting her and her father’s sickness.

Sterling was the keynote speaker for the 18th annual Champion for Children conference, where child care, child prevention and law enforcement professionals come together to train and discuss solutions for child abuse in the Big Country.

Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald was among many city leaders present at the luncheon.  He said there were 462 child abuse cases in 2016 in Taylor County.  Taylor County Sheriff Detective John Graham said that number is high because of the number of cases being reported, not because of an increase in children being abused.

One of the biggest concerns for Sterling, who is a social worker in Fort Worth, is children who end up in situations like hers.

She said although a number of reports were filed on her behalf, she had denied all abuse when asked.  Statistically Sterling said one in 10 children share their outcries.

“I always felt so completely ashamed of it and so responsible for it, I never told anyone,” Sterling said.

When Sterling was 17, her best friend’s parents took her in and she was able to break through her situation.  Since then, she graduated from ACU with a graduate degree, and she and her husband have now been certified to become foster parents themselves.

Michigan Couple Charged With Neglect

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Megan Schug, 23

Mom charged with Child Abuse as son, 4,
in critical condition

Detroit, MI  –  A 23-year-old mother was arrested and a warrant was being sought for her 34-year-old boyfriend after Battle Creek police alleged the woman’s son suffered neglect.

The 4-year-old boy, Maloyd Gaines, was reported in critical condition Thursday afternoon at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, according to Battle Creek police. The hospital said his condition was not available.

Detective Sgt. Troy Gilleylen said the boy was malnourished and kept locked in a room and had injuries over several parts of his body.

Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert issued a charge of second-degree child abuse against Megan Schug of Battle Creek Thursday morning and she was arraigned in the afternoon in Calhoun County District Court.  Gilbert also issued a similar warrant for Isaac Miller, known as Mike, Schug’s boyfriend and father of one of her children.  Battle Creek police were looking for him Thursday afternoon.

At the arraignment, Magistrate David Heiss said Schug faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charge.  He set bond at $20,000 cash and scheduled a preliminary examination for April 6.

Watching from the audience were Schug’s mother, Melissa Schug, and her sister, Morgan Schug.

Outside the courtroom both said they had no idea about the charges until they attended the arraignment.

“Nobody told me anything before I came to court,” Melissa Schug said.  “Just that he was in serious condition.  I don’t know what is going on.”

She often visits her daughter and takes her to buy food.  She said her grandson is always happy when she sees him and she calls him “my little Sumo” because he was chunky as a baby.

“He is such a sweetie.  He is a sweetie.  He loves his Nanna and he loves his aunties.  He is a good kid.”

Police said they believe the boy has a mental disability and said he doesn’t speak.  Melissa Schug said her grandson doesn’t talk much around strangers “but my baby talks; he talks to me and he is happy.”
And he eats, she said.

“He loves vegetables.  He is not good on peas but me and him would eat the heck out of spinach.  We would mix it with eggs and eat the heck out of it.”

She last saw her grandson about two weeks ago and didn’t detect any problems.  However, she admits she doesn’t like Miller.

“I just didn’t like him,” Schug said, “just the way he was.  She said he was not abusive but I know he drank and I don’t like people who drink.”

She said Miller once said he had to be stern with the boy.

“He said he had to be strict because he is a boy and I said he is not putting his hands on my grandson and she promised me.”

Police said they believe that the child was sometimes locked in a closet but Melissa Schug said she never saw that happen.

Officers were called to Bronson Battle Creek at 6:18 p.m. Wednesday after the child was taken to the emergency room by LifeCare Ambulance.

Schug told officers her son had not been feeling well for a few days and she was unable to feed him cereal about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Police described the child’s condition as “severely dilapidated state of health” and Gilleylen said he had a low body temperature.  The boy was transferred to Kalamazoo for treatment.

The boy had a round cut on his nose, large sores on his right side of his thigh and leg and substantial bruising to his toes on his left foot. Gilbert said he had injuries on his buttocks, back, feet, and head.

Police later went to the home in the 200 block of East Emmett Street and said they found questionable living conditions.  Shug’s three daughters were taken to foster care homes by Child Protective Services, but Gilleylen said they appear to be in good health.  Melissa Schug said Thursday afternoon she still is trying to find her granddaughters.

The case remains under investigation by the detective bureau.

Why So Many AntiChild Law Makers????

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Why are Children such a low priority to so many Law Makers????

Fate of Child Abuse bills frustrates
New Mexico official

ALBUQUERQUE, NM  –  The head of New Mexico’s child welfare agency is frustrated that a string of measures aimed at closing loopholes and toughening penalties for those convicted of child abuse and similar crimes failed to reach Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk.

The 60-day legislative session wrapped up March 18, leaving on the table bills that had the support of Monique Jacobson, secretary of the Children, Youth and Families Department.

“We brought forth bills that hold those who hurt our children accountable, hold those who hurt our workers accountable and make our juvenile justice system more effective,” she told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.  “We believe those should be priority pieces of legislation and so for them to either die or not have time to even be voted on is frustrating.”

Facing a state fiscal crisis, the Democratic-controlled Legislature spent some time wrangling over the provisions of budget plans that called for millions of dollars in tax increases and other fee hikes despite the governor’s promise not to raise taxes.

The governor chided lawmakers for wasting time on legislation she did not support, adding to the chorus of criticism from various advocacy groups that the Legislature was spending too much time on non-binding measures such as designating special songs and a state green chile cheeseburger rather than addressing serious problems stemming from poverty.

Senate Democrats have argued that key pieces of legislation are awaiting the governor’s signature, from a balanced budget to measures important to communities around the state, such as banning the possession or purchase of firearms by people under permanent protective orders for domestic violence incidents.

As for the child welfare bills, one would have made it a felony for someone to lure a child to a secluded place with the intention of raping them or committing some other illegal act.  Another would have expanded “Baby Brianna’s Law” to require mandatory life sentences for people convicted of intentional child abuse resulting in death, regardless of a child’s age.

The child welfare agency also supported a bill that would have closed a loophole in existing law regarding the transmitting of sexual images to children.

Also, the House overwhelmingly supported a bill calling for tougher punishments for abuse that didn’t result in death or great harm, but the measure stalled in the Senate.

Jacobson described photographs in which belt marks and bruises covered one boy’s legs while another boy had two black eyes.

While the state has been rocked in recent years by a wave of deadly child abuse cases, she said those that don’t have fatal results shouldn’t be minimized.

The agency receives about 20,000 calls annually that warrant further review for possible abuse or neglect.  That number has escalated nearly every year since at least 2009.

State figures show close to 30 percent of the cases reviewed during the 2016 fiscal year were substantiated, with more than 2,800 cases involving physical or sexual abuse.

Lawmakers also let languish a measure boosting protection for social workers battered or assaulted while on the job.  There have been instances in which workers have been followed home and the windows of agency cars have been shot out.

Jacobson questioned inaction on that measure given that lawmakers previously approved similar legislation to protect sports officials who are accosted.

Some lawmakers argue there’s no appetite for increasing penalties and that the focus should be on preventative measures.

Jacobson said her agency is doing what it can administratively to protect workers but that legal changes are needed to support that work and establish consequences for offenders.

“In New Mexico we need to send a message that we will not tolerate child abuse and this is an issue that matters to us as a state and yes we will focus on prevention but we also will hold people accountable,” she said.

FLorida Teacher Accused Of Abuse – Update

.jpg photo of Teacher accused of abuse
Saryna Parker, 43, an eighth-grade science teacher at South Dade Middle School.

Teacher charged with DUI says to trooper: ‘I
feel like kissing you,’ report says

HOMESTEAD, FL  –  An eighth-grade science teacher at South Dade Middle School — who was still on probation — was arrested and faces charges including driving under the influence and child abuse after the Florida Highway Patrol says her 10-year-old son was in the car when she caused a rear-end crash and then failed sobriety tests.

Saryna Parker, 43, also faces a battery on a law enforcement officer charge because she kicked a trooper in the groin after being placed in a patrol car, according to her arrest report.

Miami-Dade Public Schools confirmed Parker was a probationary teacher and “will be terminated.”

The incident happened at about 8 p.m. Sunday on U.S. 1 and Southwest 182nd Avenue.

According to the report, the driver of a Chrysler van told troopers that he was stopped in traffic when Parker’s Cadillac hit him.

When a trooper tried to talk to her “she slurred her speech and he could smell a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage emitting from her breath,” a trooper wrote in the report.

At first she denied being the driver and tried to leave to go to the bathroom, according to the report.  She was detained briefly with handcuffs.  Another trooper then was called to conduct sobriety tests.

Parker agreed, the trooper wrote, but “she seemed unsteady on her feet and swayed to maintain balance.”

The trooper gave Parker several tests including the one-leg stand and the walk and turn.

“I explained the exercises to her, she touched me on my back and advised: I feel like kissing you,” the trooper wrote.

As for the test, the trooper said she “could not keep her balance while listening to the instructions,” and she “started before instructed to do so.”

Parker, who refused to take a breath test, was then placed under arrest.

“As Ms. Parker sat in the back of my patrol car she violently kicked me in the groin with her right leg then continued to kick my right rear passenger side door,” the trooper wrote.  “During this whole incident, Ms. Parker was uncooperative and very belligerent.”