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Amid string of overlooked sex abuse in Livingston Parish, renowned civil rights attorney wants federal probe

1 year 5 days 7 hours ago Tuesday, July 11 2023 Jul 11, 2023 July 11, 2023 2:44 PM July 11, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - Nationally known civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said he will ask the United States Department of Justice to come in and investigate claims that allegations of child sex abuse were ignored in Livingston Parish.

It follows a bombshell WBRZ Investigative Unit report last week that showed two girls alleged their dad, who is a Livingston Parish Sheriff's deputy, molested them.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit obtained sealed court records that corroborate the children's story. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services validated the girl's complaints in 2018, along with the Children's Advocacy Center and Dr. Neha Mehta in New Orleans.

Despite those verifications, nothing happened to the deputy.

"When you look at the Livingston sheriff's department and the things they missed on the Dennis and Cynthia Perkins case, the things they missed on the John Mack case... And you start to question when you have a plethora of evidence on this latest matter, why aren't they taking these matters seriously to say at least we have probable cause," Lawyer Ben Crump said.

Crump flew in from Florida and is representing Latoyia Porter. She is the guardian of a teen girl who said she was raped by John Mack for years. Nothing was done. Despite numerous reports to DCFS and other outside entities, nothing happened to Mack until the NAACP got involved.

Last year, John and Patricia Fore, a couple who once owned Tiki Tubing in Livingston Parish were arrested in separate sex crimes investigations. Sheriff Jason Ard at the time said that some of the allegations against the couple were reported years earlier, admitting that deputies did not pursue the case as "diligently" as it should have been.

A similar situation happened with the Dennis Perkins case initially. A Baton Rouge Police Officer met with Sheriff Ard about Perkins, but Ard didn't write anything down.

Thornton's case and the Mack case add more complexity to the situation as lawyers question whether law enforcement ignored victims on purpose.

"If it happens once it's an incident," Crump said. "If it happens twice, it's a coincidence. If it happens three times or four times, it appears to be a disturbing pattern. So, we in the public have to give a voice to these voiceless girls."

Thornton said she tried for years to get something done.

"Livingston parish is not going to give my children justice," Thornton said. "Whether it's the DA or the sheriff's office. The way it looks to me is that everyone is running in the same political circles. So, to me it's like the deputy did it. We will pretend that we don't see it, and let him keep working for us."

State Police reached out to WBRZ Friday saying it was asked by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office to investigate the 2018 case. A spokesman said, "LSP investigators found there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges."

WBRZ sent Louisiana State Police copies of the sealed court records where three entities substantiated the abuse. WBRZ also asked State Police why the alleged victims were not interviewed. We are awaiting their response.

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