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Years before deputy's child sex crimes arrest, Jason Ard vouched for deputy labeled 'high risk' hire

2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago Tuesday, October 29 2019 Oct 29, 2019 October 29, 2019 2:32 PM October 29, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Documents the WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered in federal court show disgraced deputy Dennis Perkins was considered a "high risk" hire back in 2002, when a polygraph test was administered to him prior to being employed at the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office. At that time, then-deputy Jason Ard vouched for Perkins, calling him "of good character" and saying Perkins would make an excellent employee.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit found Perkins, who is now accused of 60 counts of child pornography and two counts of child rape, confessed to stealing prior to being hired at the Livingston Sheriff's Office.

Perkins used to work at the Walker Police Department. Those administering the polygraph test noted, "Mr. Perkins is a High Risk... Mr. Perkins has admitted to stealing merchandise from a store while shopping that valued less than $100. He also admitted that he has stole [sic] property from his employer. Mr. Perkins admitted to stealing property off the job that only happened once."

The document shows then-deputy Jason Ard served as a character witness for Perkins when he got hired at LPSO. The document says, "Deputy Ard stated that the applicant was of good character and knows him to be quite proficient in his duties as a police officer. Deputy Ard further stated that he feels the applicant would make LPSO an excellent employee."

Dennis Perkins' wife Cynthia, a school teacher, is also accused of child rape and at least 60 counts of child pornography. At a court hearing Monday, Cynthia was held without bond. Dennis Perkins is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Last week, the WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered information about a woman who filed a restraining order against Perkins in 2011. That restraining order was received by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and served by their own deputies.

However, spokeswoman Lori Steele said in text messages, "How can LPSO investigate something we have no knowledge of?"

The WBRZ Investigative Unit requested another interview with Ard Monday. Steele said, "This is an AG's investigation. That investigation is still ongoing. Sheriff has no further comment at this time..."

But, in a statement issued later in the day following numerous requests from WBRZ, the sheriff's office said there was a prior complaint made by an officer on another force involving Perkins and a juvenile girl in 2014.

“Sheriff Ard was contacted by a BRPD officer in that time frame.  The officer wanted to discuss an affair involving that officer’s wife and what he described as ‘tickling’ of his minor daughter; but not sexual misconduct or molestation of a juvenile.  That officer did not want a formal investigation or to file a formal complaint with our office.  Sheriff has since been made aware that the State Police did look into this same complaint.  He understands that State Police did look into the matter, but did not find any criminal conduct.”

Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation regarding these claims. In a statement released to WBRZ, the department stated, “In 2014, LSP received information from a third party regarding Perkins.  LSP referred the information to LPSO for review of Perkins’ actions. LPSO was already aware of the allegations based on information they had also received.  LSP was advised LPSO did not need further assistance.  Upon Perkins’ recent arrest, out of an abundance of caution, LSP revisited the allegation.  Last week, LSP confirmed that no criminal act occurred in 2014.”

Following Perkins arrest, Ard said that he condemned his alleged actions. Ard also called him a "friend and family member."

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