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Dennis Perkins

Former Livingston Parish deputy and child pornography suspect Dennis Perkins has been moved from the Ascension Parish Jail to a state prison to continue in protective custody while he's awaiting trial.

Perkins, 44, was arrested Oct. 23 on a series of counts including 60 counts of producing child pornography, two counts of first-degree rape, as well as video voyeurism and obscenity counts.

He had been housed at Ascension Parish Jail since that time because Livingston Parish authorities determined that, since he was a law enforcement officer, he would be safer if he wasn't kept in the jurisdiction where he had potentially played a part in arresting the inmates with whom he would be residing.

He was placed in protective custody at Ascension Parish Jail, but Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lori Steele said Wednesday that Perkins had been relocated to Hunt Correctional Facility, managed by the Louisiana Department of Corrections near St. Gabriel. 

Steele said the move was for "safety reasons," but Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said Wednesday that no specific threat or incident had occurred to spur that move.

He said that, when Perkins was arrested, Ascension Parish agreed to house the inmate on a short-term basis until bond had been determined, but didn't have the space to set aside a protective custody unit for the potentially months- or yearslong stint until Perkins' case makes it to trial.

Perkins faced a court hearing last week in which his attorney, David Bourland, waived the time restraint on the bond hearing and agreed that Perkins would remain in custody without bond until he was called for a hearing at a later time.

Webre said given that there is no immediate chance for Perkins to be released on bond, he told Livingston Parish authorities he could not continue housing Perkins in protective custody at the local jail.

Louisiana Department of Corrections spokesman Ken Pastorick said Perkins is being housed in a cell separately from DOC inmates, as is protocol when the state holds pretrial inmates for parish jails, and he is not in general population due to the risk factors of being a law enforcement officer and being accused of sex crimes against children.

Perkins is next scheduled for a court hearing in Livingston Parish on Dec. 19.

Email Emma Kennedy at ekennedy@theadvocate.com.