Oklahoma continues to have generally low performing services for children, youth and families. One of the latest disclosures on such poor performance is that David W. Cunningham, a mental health contractor with the State of Oklahoma has been accused and charged with taking boys under his county juvenile court caseload to a vacant house in the greater Oklahoma City area. Therein threatening them, spanking them, and other abuse.
Local media cites that Cunningham has been before various licensure boards in Oklahoma regarding care and licensure questions. Cunningham has a history of some version inquiry under certifications or licenses in Oklahoma and other states regarding prior questions of his mishandling care of United States Military Veterans.
Which licensure is accurately held during those events, or these current events is not clear, and this determines which professional boards if any has jurisdiction over the investigation and consideration of these acts against youth.
The number of youth, nor their names have been released. Currently, only males have been identified. Reports have held information which has been fragmented. Fragmented reporting of such a sensitive problem is normal and often escapes accurate documentation, furthering successful identification of both victims and aggressors. Application of trauma informed care listening skills, resulted in Cleveland County law enforcement advising media that there are most likely other victims in this case.
A citizen’s petition regarding exact changes in legitimate and safer service for Oklahoma youth has begun to circulate, directed towards Governor Mary Fallin, The Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma State House. Prior issues of state employees or contractors often have no easily defined critical pathway.
Often these stories of state systems induced traumas present in Oklahoma news, but neither state nor local government seems to approach with meaningful and measurable change. The petition notes that as many as 11 groups may have had access to this concerning provider prior to this incident. Trends in disengaging sexual assault responses have been noted in other juvenile realms.
It appears that as many as 11 groups had a role in public safety regarding Cunningham, or others like him.
A similar, prior accusation of another person, Dr Dwain Pellebon a then 15 year professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma surfaced regarding teen and preteen girls in his home under loosely explained circumstances. Pellebon had no professional license and was thereby never investigated by the Oklahoma Social Work Licensure Board. He was released from OU employment, and not rehired after this Cleveland County case was heard and dismissed. Pellebon sued OU, who then paid a settlement to him, under undisclosed terms. Pellebon works as a consultant to lawyers in the Midwest City area.
It is relevant that the Pellebon case unanswered related questions did not fall under any purvue and therefore remained unasked, untended an unsolved in preventions. There was no noted change in related Oklahoma laws or processes following the Pellebon case. Since Pellebon’s leadership and teaching role nor contributions to state systems was never reviewed with regards to teaching, training, policy, custom or law regarding child abuse and child sexual abuse which he held in some form for 15 years between his university job teaching BSW and MSW students, nor consulting with the OKDHS.
The Cunningham case is currently under investigation by Cleveland County, which includes South Oklahoma City, Moore and Norman areas. Cunningham is also being investigated reportedly by the Oklahoma Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor’s Board. Cunningham license with LADC expired earlier this year, and the page says he has no disciplinary actions, which in this case there are no findings against him by that Board. The LADC page says that Cunningham has a license with the Oklahoma Social Work Board, however this is not verifiable. It is remarkable that the boards do not electronically connect, and there is no master data base for accuracy or alerts to be distributed for public safety.