Cynthia Thompson Perkins (left) and Dennis W. Perkins (right)

Cynthia Thompson Perkins (left) and Dennis W. Perkins (right)

A Livingston Parish deputy and his school teacher wife who are accused in a child porn case are scheduled to appear next week at court hearings specifically designed to protect alleged victims of abuse within a family.

Dennis Perkins, 44, and Cynthia Thompson Perkins, 34, were arrested this week on multiple child sex-related counts, including 60 counts each of producing child pornography and two counts of first-degree rape.

While the state Attorney General’s Office — the lead agency in the case — has released few details about the nature of the allegations against the couple, including whether the crimes were related to their jobs, a document released to the media Thursday indicates the two will face Gwen’s Law hearings next week.

That law allows a judge to deny a suspect bond for certain crimes if an alleged victim is a family member or lives in the suspect’s household. The hearings are often used in domestic violence cases but can be used to hold a suspect for any felony offenses involving force or threats of force against a family member.

The Attorney General's office has said the investigation began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the possible possession and distribution of child pornography.

In a document released Thursday afternoon, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux's office sought to remove itself from prosecuting the case due to a conflict of interest.

Perrilloux said his office has worked on cases involving Dennis Perkins numerous times over his lengthy law enforcement career, which is the reason for the recusal.

"Our office has had a lot of involvement with Mr. Perkins over the years with many cases so we felt like it was in the interest of the entire matter to recuse ourselves," he said.

A member of the attorney general's staff, or a district attorney from another district will likely prosecute the case.

Cynthia Perkins will have a 313 hearing — also known as a Gwen's Law hearing — in Livingston Parish court on Monday and Dennis Perkins will have a hearing Wednesday. 

Authorities have not said if the Perkins' family members are the victims in the case, but 313 hearings generally serve to evaluate bond based on the ongoing safety of the public and family members in domestic violence situations.

Dennis Perkins, who goes by the name Denny, is being held in the Ascension Parish Jail for safety reasons, according to Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lori Steele. She said that's to avoid housing him in Livingston Parish with other inmates he may have dealt with in a law enforcement capacity.

He is currently being held on a $1,675,000 bond, and Cynthia Perkins is being held at the Livingston Parish Jail on a $500,000 bond.

Denny Perkins faces the same production of child pornography and first-degree rape counts as his wife, but faces additional counts of obscenity and video voyeurism.

Cynthia Perkins' ex-husband filed a protective order against her in Livingston Parish Court Thursday, but the details of the document were sealed by the judge overseeing the case. According to court records, Perkins and her ex-husband divorced in 2018 and shared custody of their three children.

Court records show Dennis Perkins divorced an ex-wife in 2017, and the two shared custody of one child.

Livingston Parish Schools spokeswoman Delia Taylor said class continued as normal Thursday morning at Westside Junior High School in Walker, where Cynthia Perkins worked, with a substitute teacher in her place.

Perkins had taught English Language Arts at the school since 2016 before resigning Tuesday as a result of her arrest. Prior to that, she taught at North Live Oak Elementary between 2013 and 2016 and at Live Oak Middle School in 2012. She served as a substitute for the district between 2009 and 2012.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Parrill, who handles public records for the district, said documents within Cynthia Perkins' personnel file are protected from public access. But, he said, there had been no complaints or concerns filed in the past regarding the teacher's conduct in the school setting.

Taylor said there are counselors available at each school in the district every school day, but there has been no direct communication to students or parents about Perkins' arrest nor a direct effort made to offer counseling to students who may be impacted by the news of the teacher's arrest.

She emphasized that there is no indication from the attorney general's office — the agency leading the investigation — that the alleged conduct of Cynthia Perkins and her husband related to the school or its students in any way, so the district is not involved with the situation to her knowledge. 

Taylor said the school has not received any questions or concerns from parents, students or other administrators as of Thursday morning.

Anyone with information regarding Cynthia or Dennis Perkins is encouraged to contact the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation toll-free at 1-800-256-4506. Callers may remain anonymous.


Email Emma Kennedy at ekennedy@theadvocate.com.