In bombshell interview, cop who tried to shine light on deputy at center of child sex case says everyone missed 'red flags'
BATON ROUGE – The police officer who reported the bizarre behavior of a deputy now at the center of a child sex case is disturbed with how authorities have handled questions about the accused deputy’s previous incidents.
You can watch the entire interview here.
Dennis Perkins and his wife Cynthia were arrested last week on various sex crimes charges involving children. Dennis Perkins was, until he was arrested, a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s deputy. Cynthia Perkins was a school teacher.
Perkins was reported to have made strange advances toward a young girl about five years ago. Amid Perkins’ arrest, law enforcement has qualified the interaction as not criminal, but the step-father of the girl disputed how the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office has framed the complaints and believes various levels of government missed red flags.
Lt. Todd Webb, a Baton Rouge Police officer, spoke exclusively with the WBRZ Investigative Unit Tuesday.
Webb said he met with Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard in 2013 over the suspicious interactions between Dennis Perkins and Webb’s step-daughter at the time.
"My stepdaughter at the time went to Denny Perkins house for a sleepover," Webb told WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto. "She was friends with another child. Sometime in the night, Denny Perkins climbed into bed with her and another child."
"When we found out about it the next day, we were concerned and red flags," Webb said. "We brought it to a counselor and learned other inappropriate behavior took place. He would chase her in a room...hold her down and play tickle monster."
Webb did not identify the girl who he said now lives out of state and does not share his last name. But, he wanted to identify himself in an interview with WBRZ.
Webb said following meetings with the counselor, he scheduled a meeting with Sheriff Jason Ard.
"I went to Livingston and sat in his office and told him no laws were broken but it was inappropriate," Webb recalled. "Highly inappropriate. Told him I didn't want Denny Perkins anywhere around my family, stepdaughter or wife."
What happened the next day following that meeting caused Webb to notify his supervisors and state investigators.
"I left the meeting, it was a day or two later, and my family went to the gas station and Denny Perkins pulls around and ‘slow rolls’ around them," Webb said. "To me that's intimidation. I went through my chain of command and met with [then-BRPD Chief] Carl Dabadie. Dabadie called Jason Ard."
Webb also went to the State Inspector General. A former employee there confirmed that meeting and the allegations that were brought to them.
Parish and state law agents have said they found no wrongdoing, and do not appear to have taken any extra steps.
After dodging questions about the situation, the Livingston Parish sheriff said Monday, investigators determined Perkins was just “tickling” the child and that the incident was “not sexual misconduct or molestation of a juvenile.”
State Police also investigated, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said in a prepared statement Monday.
Troopers also “did not find any criminal conduct,” the sheriff’s office said.
The report came from a police officer who wanted to discuss the daughter’s interaction with the deputy and, the sheriff said, complaints that the deputy was having an affair with the police officer’s wife.
In a State Police statement issued Tuesday – a day after Ard’s, State Police said troopers heard from a “third party” of the allegations about Perkins and the child but referred the information back to the sheriff’s office for “review.”
“[The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office] was already aware of the allegations based on information they had also received,” State Police said.
Troopers were told by deputies the sheriff’s office “did not need further assistance” but troopers revisited the allegation after Perkins’ recent arrest and came to the same conclusion as deputies about the 2014 incident - “no criminal act occurred,” troopers said in a statement.
State Police said it could not make records available about the incident because State Police "did not investigate any complaints involving Dennis Perkins in 2013-2014" so State Police does "not maintain any records" related to the incident, according to a response from State Police about a public record request filed by WBRZ.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered a plethora of problems tied to Perkins over the past week. A restraining order filed in 2011 by a woman claimed he used his unit to stalk someone. The Livingston Parish Sheriff said they had no record of it despite them stamping it as "received." Also, WBRZ reported Perkins was a high-risk hire when Ard, as a deputy, vouched for him in 2002.
Following Perkins’ arrest last week, the Livingston Sheriff said it did not condone Perkins’ actions but called it a sad day for law enforcement. Ard also called Perkins a friend and family member.
In the TV interview broadcast on News 2 at 6 and 6:30 Tuesday, Webb chastised the comments: "It bothers me because when Denny was arrested that is not a sad day for law enforcement," Webb said. "That's a great day for law enforcement because good cops did their jobs, and this guy won't be able to hurt little kids anymore."
After four separate requests, Sheriff Jason Ard agreed to an on-camera interview with Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto Wednesday.
A day after the TV interview with Webb, State Police released its case file, identical to the story Webb told on WBRZ newscasts. Click HERE to read the case file.