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

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

A Livingston Parish court filing this week marks the fourth time a family has sued a former deputy, his teacher wife and the school board over an accusation that the law officer tainted cupcakes that his wife later served to students.

Dennis Perkins, 44, and Cynthia Perkins, 35, were arrested in October on charges including allegations of rape, sexual battery, video voyeurism, mingling harmful substances, obscenity, and producing child pornography. Dennis Perkins faces additional counts of rape and sexual abuse of an animal that span back farther but do not involve Cynthia Perkins.

Dennis had been with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office since 2002, where he worked his way up to his most recent position as the head of the SWAT team before he was terminated following his arrest.

Cynthia Perkins had taught English at Westside Junior High School in Walker since 2016, and she had been with Livingston Parish School District since 2009 until her resignation the day she was arrested.

The four civil lawsuits, all filed separately since November, surround the pair's counts of mingling harmful substances. The Attorney General's Office, and subsequently the lawsuits, claim Dennis Perkins introduced semen into batches of cupcakes that Cynthia intentionally served to her students at Westside Junior High School in November 2018 and May 2019.

One lawsuit claims the father of a student who ate the cupcakes hasn't been able to find gainful employment since the incident because of debilitating depression, and another claims a parent and child have had mental health, behavioral and sleep issues since learning of the allegations.

The most recent lawsuit, filed by a family Monday, claimed that in addition to having their daughter eat the cupcakes, Cynthia Perkins showed the student explicit and sexual images as well as photographed and videotaped her.

All of them claim some kind of negligence on the school board's behalf, either in hiring Cynthia Perkins, a lack of oversight of her behavior or a violation of school policies in allowing homemade food items to be served to students.

Livingston Parish Schools spokeswoman Delia Taylor declined to comment on the lawsuits, saying the district does not comment on pending litigation.

However, in a response the school board's attorney filed in one of the previous cases earlier this month, the district denies any wrongdoing and claims that the plaintiffs asserting any criminal or intentional wrongdoing on the board's behalf is libelous and defamatory.

The Livingston Parish courthouse is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus, but according to the Clerk of Court's website, it is processing electronic filings and mail throughout the pandemic. All four of the civil cases against the Perkins' and the school board are ongoing.

Cynthia and Dennis Perkins remain in custody and no trial date has been set for their criminal cases.


Email Emma Kennedy at ekennedy@theadvocate.com.