A man suspected of kidnapping a co-worker from her Kenner apartment two years ago and taking her to a New Orleans "house of horrors" is now facing allegations that he possessed sexually explicit images of children.
Mario Perez Roque, 58, pleaded not guilty last week to nine counts of having images depicting sexual acts involving children younger than 13, according to Orleans Parish Criminal District Court records.
A bill of information filed against Perez this summer said the images were found on Nov. 6, 2015, the day police searched what they dubbed his "house of horrors" after the woman he's charged with kidnapping escaped.
The home was outfitted with peepholes, trap doors and a grave-like hole dug into a bedroom floor.
Child pornography possession can carry between five and 20 years in prison. Perez could face up to 40 years if he is convicted of the kidnapping charge that remains pending against him in 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish.
Police allege that, with the help of another man wielding a gun, Perez abducted a woman who had previously spurned his romantic advances. She was allegedly blindfolded and tied to a chair in a home on North Lopez Street in Mid-City that also had a hidden chamber and cameras overlooking rooms, causing police to liken it to a prison.
The woman eventually freed herself, saw a poster-sized photo of herself on the wall and fled, leaving her purse, wallet and cellphone behind. She later spoke to police, who then combed Perez's home for evidence.
Perez was arrested in Metairie on Nov. 7, 2015, the day after the kidnapping. That same day in Terrytown, a man named Eric Mendoza was caught with a handgun after being pulled over while driving Perez's car.
Police suspected Mendoza was Perez's accomplice. But he didn't make any statements connecting him to the crime when interviewed, and the woman never got a look at the second kidnapper, police have said.
Mendoza ultimately pleaded guilty in federal court to illegal gun possession.
Perez is tentatively due in Jefferson Parish court on Nov. 28 in the kidnapping case, to which he has pleaded not guilty. A preliminary court hearing in the child porn case in New Orleans is set for Dec. 4.
Perez’s brother told The New Orleans Advocate that police had exaggerated some of the house’s oddities, although he acknowledged that Perez has a history of mental illness.
Perez was previously convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder in New Jersey.
He was also accused of attempted murder in Kenner years earlier. However, after spending some time in a mental institution, he pleaded guilty only to being a felon with a weapon in that case.
Jefferson Parish prosecutors have filed charges against a man arrested more than two months …