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Sheriff holds contentious press conference in wake of deputy's child-rape arrest

2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago Wednesday, October 30 2019 Oct 30, 2019 October 30, 2019 6:52 PM October 30, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - A combative, defensive Sheriff Jason Ard spoke to reporters today for the first time since one of his deputies was arrested a week ago on rape and child pornography charges.

In that news conference, he verbally attacked a Baton Rouge police officer who -- years before -- had gone to Ard with concerns about what seemed to be "grooming" interactions occurring when his stepdaughter had a sleepover at Dennis Perkins' home.

BRPD Lt. Todd Webb told WBRZ Tuesday that the sheriff should have picked up on the "red flags" surrounding Dennis Perkins years ago.  Webb said he went to Ard repeatedly about a 2013 incident in which he alleged that Perkins had touched his stepdaughter inappropriately. He said the encounter fell short of being criminal, but was disturbing.

He said the girl was friends with a Perkins daughter and spent the night at their home.

"Sometime in the night, Denny Perkins climbed into bed with her and another child," Webb said.

At the Wednesday news conference, Ard chastised Webb for identifying a child who had been the target of potentially inappropriate contact.

"He should be ashamed of himself, because you know as a law enforcement officer what you do not do is you don't ever identify that victim. And he should have never identified his stepdaughter," Ard said. "That is just a disgrace to the badge that you would identify a victim like that."

Ard said Webb's coming forward was not enough for him to go beyond a "verbal" investigation. He questioned why the girl's biological parent hadn't reported it, and why State Police closed their investigation without an arrest. 

"Why hasn't the mother of that child come forward? Why has she not made a report?" Ard asked. "Why didn't they (State Police) arrest him five years ago?"

Perkins and his wife Cynthia Perkins, a middle school teacher who resigned after she was arrested, are being held without bond on multiple counts of first-degree rape and dozens of charges of production of child pornography.

Documents detailing the conduct leading to the arrests have been filed under seal, which means the public does not have access to them.

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