A longtime Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy, along with his wife, a junior high school teacher in Walker, stood accused Wednesday of producing pornography involving a preteen child. The pair are also accused of first-degree rape, and he faces obscenity and video voyeurism counts, too.
“It’s a sad day for all of us … when you arrest one of your own,” Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said. The Livingston Parish School District said the teacher resigned and that the school system would cooperate with investigators.
According to the attorney general’s office, the investigation began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the possible possession and distribution of child pornography. The number of alleged victims wasn’t immediately known, nor was it clear whether Livingston Parish children were among them.
Following an investigation by the attorney general’s office, the sheriff’s office, Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, Dennis Perkins, 44, was arrested Tuesday night in Sabine Parish, where he had traveled for a fishing trip.
Perkins was transferred Wednesday afternoon to Livingston Parish Detention Center and his bond was set at $1,675,000. The attorney general’s office said Perkins would face five dozen counts alleging the production of pornography involving a juvenile under age 13, two counts of first-degree rape, three counts of possession of pornography involving a juvenile under age 13, two counts of video voyeurism and two counts of obscenity.
Cynthia Thompson Perkins, 34, was arrested Wednesday morning on 60 counts of production of pornography involving a juvenile under age 13 and two counts of first-degree rape. She was being held in lieu of a $500,000 bond.
Cynthia Perkins quit her job Wednesday, schools spokeswoman Delia Taylor said. Taylor did not know how long Perkins had worked for the district.
Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lori Steele said Ard fired Dennis Perkins on Wednesday after learning of the arrest. Dennis Perkins had been with the department since 2002 and, as a lieutenant, had led its SWAT team.
“This was a veteran law enforcement officer, one who had dedicated a lot of time and effort into this community,” Ard said. “This type of alleged behavior will not be tolerated by me or anyone at the LPSO. …
“I have always considered Denny a friend and a family member,” Ard said.
Cynthia Perkins was a teacher at Westside Junior High School in Walker. Taylor said there had been no indication from the attorney general's office that any of the allegations involved a Livingston Parish school, but deferred to authorities for further information.
In its statement, the school district said only that a teacher had resigned but Taylor confirmed in an interview that its statement was about Cynthia Perkins.
"An employee of Livingston Parish Public Schools has resigned today as the result of an ongoing investigation by law enforcement,” the statement said. “Livingston Parish Public School officials became aware of the investigation early this morning and met with the employee, at which time the resignation was rendered and accepted.
“Livingston Parish Public Schools is committed to the safety and security of all students and employees and is committed to working with the proper authorities as needed through the course of this investigation,” the district said.
Westside Junior High was closed Wednesday for previously scheduled teacher-parent conferences.
“Protecting Louisiana children is one of my top priorities,” Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a prepared statement. “So my office and I will continue to do all we can to find and arrest child predators.”
Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office spokesperson Allison Hudson said Dennis Perkins was transferred to the Ascension Parish Jail on Wednesday evening for his own protection.