A former Oklahoma middle school principal is facing a federal lawsuit alleging that he groomed and sexually assaulted students at the school where he worked.
Cody Barlow, a 33-year-old former Wewoka Middle School principal who was arrested in October on child sexual assault charges, is being sued along with the Wewoka School District by an anonymous minor who attended the school and claims that Barlow groomed and abused him, according to KOKH-TV.
“Mr. Barlow had a process of grooming young kids,” attorney Ross Leonoudakis, who is representing the minor, told the outlet. “Grooming young kids to get them comfortable with them, and then sexually abusing them at least on school property.”
The lawsuit alleges that Barlow, who was also a youth pastor, would roughhouse members of the boys’ basketball team and would spend time alone with students in his office.
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In one instance, Barlow was allegedly standing behind a boy’s shoulders and “thrusting his hips” against him, and when a counselor who observed the situation screamed, Barlow sat down and pulled the boy onto his lap, at which point the counselor said she saw what she believed to be Barlow’s erection.
The counselor called the police, who ultimately arrested Barlow.
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The lawsuit also alleges that Barlow gave special favors and treatment to students he was inappropriately touching, and Leonoudakis believes that there could be other victims.
“This didn’t just start a month ago,” Leonoudakis explained. “Cody Barlow’s been a sexual predator for a long, long time. We believe that the further we dig, we’ll be able to uncover not only his history of abuse of young kids in the community but the knowledge of those around him for a long time. We believe the school knew further back than September, and we believe that the church knew. That’s part of the investigation.”
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The lawsuit states that the Wewoka School District “failed to implement and/or execute policies in regard to the reporting of sexual misconduct to state agencies to protect students from further abuse and to end the access to students of suspected predators,”
“These failures resulted in the deprivation of Plaintiff’s constitutional, statutory, and common-law rights.”
The Wewoka School District did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
In a statement earlier this year when Barlow was placed on administrative leave in October, the school district said that it is “committed to providing a safe learning environment for its students. “The school district is aware of the arrest of an employee of the district. It is the policy of the Wewoka School District to immediately investigate allegations of misconduct and take immediate action to protect our students.”
The school district added that it will provide assistance to students and families who have been impacted.
Source: Fox News