• Louisiana Boy Scout leader facing 500 counts child pornography, police say

    By: Crystal Bonvillian , Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    A Louisiana Boy Scout leader sits in a jail cell in lieu of $50 million after authorities arrested him last week on 500 counts of possessing child pornography.

    Randy D. Miller Jr., 49, of Denham Springs, was arrested the morning of Nov. 26 in a raid at his home. He is being held in the Livingston Parish Detention Center, according to jail records.

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    The records show Miller was arrested on his birthday.

    Though little has been released regarding the circumstances of Miller’s case, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry issued a brief statement the day of the Scout leader’s arrest.

    “Child pornography is a dreadful crime that inflicts lifelong damage to the victims,” Landry wrote on Twitter. “I applaud my office and our law enforcement partners for finding and arresting the despicable people who possess, distribute and produce these horrific sexual abuse images and videos.”

    The Advocate in Baton Rouge reported that Miller was affiliated with the Baton Rouge-area chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, called the Istrouma Area Council. Though the chapter’s website last week listed Miller as the Nawaganti District’s Pinewood Derby host, local ABC affiliate WBRZ reported that the group scrubbed any mention of Miller from its website after news of his arrest got out.

    It was not immediately clear if the allegations against Miller involved any of the young Scouts with whom he worked.

    Miller’s neighbors told the news station a flurry of police cars raided the cul-de-sac where the former U.S. Marine lives with his wife and two children. Surveillance footage from a gas station around the corner shows law enforcement officers preparing for the arrest shortly after 6 a.m. Nov. 26.

    The Advocate reported that Miller’s arrest was the result of a joint investigation by the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, the Livingston and East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s offices, the Louisiana State Police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    The Boy Scouts issued a statement the evening of Miller’s arrest stating that he had been removed from the organization and prohibited from participating in any future events.

    “We were shocked and disturbed to learn about the allegations against this individual,” the statement read, according to WBRZ. “These actions are reprehensible and run counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) stands.

    “Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our scouting programs -- it is our top priority.”

    The Boy Scouts of America has a multi-layered process of safeguards in place to protect its members, according to the organization’s website. At least two adults trained in youth protection must remain with members at all times, and one-on-one situations where adults would have any interactions alone with children, either in person, online, or via text, are prohibited.

    There is also a ban on the use of recording devices or cellphones near bathrooms and shower houses, a thorough screening process for leaders and staff -- including criminal background checks -- and a requirement that any allegation or suspicion of abuse is reported immediately

    Deputy and teacher accused

    Miller’s arrest was the second high-profile case in as many months involving child porn in Livingston Parish. A sheriff’s deputy and his schoolteacher wife were arrested in October on a multitude of charges.

    Cynthia Perkins, 34, is charged with 60 counts of producing child porn and two counts of first-degree rape, according to Landry’s office. Her husband, 44-year-old Dennis “Denny” Perkins, faces the same charges, along with three counts of possession of child porn, two counts of video voyeurism and two counts of obscenity.

    WAFB reported that Denny Perkins also faces an obstruction charge for tossing his cellphone into a north Louisiana river after learning investigators were there to arrest him. He was arrested Oct. 22 while on a fishing trip in Toledo Bend, located in Sabine Parish.

    Ex-Livingston Parish sheriff's Deputy Dennis Perkins, left, and his wife, Cynthia Perkins, a schoolteacher, are charged with two counts of rape and 60 counts of possession of child porn.
    Ex-Livingston Parish sheriff's Deputy Dennis Perkins, left, and his wife, Cynthia Perkins, a schoolteacher, are charged with two counts of rape and 60 counts of possession of child porn.
    Louisiana Attorney General's Office

    At the time of his arrest, Denny Perkins was a high-ranking Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy who headed the agency’s SWAT team. Cynthia Perkins was a teacher at Westside Junior High.

    Both were fired following their arrests. Cynthia Perkins had been a teacher in the Livingston Parish school district since 2012, according to WBRZ. She has worked in both elementary and middle schools.

    School system officials have declined to comment on the case in detail but acknowledged the criminal investigation in a statement on the district’s website.

    “In compliance with the wishes of the attorney general and to protect the integrity of the investigation and the privacy of our students and their families, Livingston Parish Public Schools will not comment or discuss details of the matter until such time as the case has reached disposition,” the statement read. “Our priority is the welfare of the children of this district and the preservation of a consistent, quality educational process during this stressful time. Thank you for your continued support.”

    Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard spoke out about the Perkins case during a Nov. 7 news conference. Ard has come under fire for his handling of a prior complaint against Denny Perkins.

    “This was a monstrous act, a monstrous act that they would do upon these kids what they have done,” Ard told reporters last month.

    Ard said Denny Perkins was a personal friend who betrayed both the department and the community.

    “I ask myself every day, ‘How did this happen?’” Ard said. “We have deputies going around my office (asking), ‘How did this happen?’ We don’t know. If we did, it wouldn’t have happened.

    “But, unfortunately, it did.”

    Watch Ard’s entire news conference below, courtesy of WBRZ.

    The current case against Denny Perkins is not the first time he has been accused of inappropriate behavior with a child.

    WBRZ reported that a Baton Rouge police officer, Lt. Todd Webb, went to Ard in 2013 after Denny Perkins was accused of climbing into bed with Webb’s 11-year-old stepdaughter. Webb came forward publicly last month after the couple’s arrests.

    “My stepdaughter at the time went to Denny Perkins’ house for a sleepover,” Webb told WBRZ. “She was friends with another child. Sometime in the night, Denny Perkins climbed into bed with her and another child.”

    Webb said the girl told him and her mother that Denny Perkins would also chase her before holding her down and playing “tickle monster.”

    Ard said he personally questioned Perkins, who denied wrongdoing. Webb never submitted a complaint in writing, the sheriff said.

    “He’s a law enforcement professional,” Ard said. “All law enforcement officers know one thing, and one thing, for a fact: If you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen.

    “He should be ashamed of himself for not reporting that.”

    Click here to watch WBRZ’s entire interview with Baton Rouge police Lt. Todd Webb.

    Ard also castigated the girl’s mother, who now lives in another state with her daughter, for not coming forward with a complaint.

    The mother, whose name WAFB withheld to protect her daughter’s identity, said in a statement that her sole concern, both then and now, is her daughter.

    “I immediately brought her to a counselor,” the woman said. “My husband at the time was handling the legal side of it and went to the sheriff. There was no reason for me to ‘come forward’ to file a complaint, as he was handling that part of the situation.”

    Ard also targeted Webb for coming forward now and making his name public, which he said could allow the officer’s stepdaughter to be identified. In his comments, Ard repeatedly referred to her as a victim, despite his assertions that no crime had been committed by Perkins in 2013.

    “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,” Ard said. “And he should have never identified his stepdaughter. That is just a disgrace to the badge that you would identify a victim like that.”

    The Louisiana State Police was notified of the alleged incident in 2013 but handed the case back to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, WAFB reported. Ard said during the Nov. 7 news conference that he spoke to troopers six years ago and, because there “was no criminal activity,” no formal investigation was conducted.

    State police investigators reopened the 2013 probe on Oct. 24, following Denny and Cynthia Perkins’ arrests. Again, troopers found nothing criminal had taken place.

    The counselor who saw the girl told Webb and his then-wife, however, that “from what the juvenile disclosed in the sessions, that Dennis Perkins had engaged in grooming behavior with her,” the state police report from October states.

    “The counselor also told (redacted) that he believed Perkins had done this before and would do it again,” the report says.

    Webb told WBRZ that he met with Ard following the 2013 meetings with the counselor.

    “I went to Livingston and sat in his office and told him no laws were broken but it was inappropriate,” Webb told the news station. “Highly inappropriate. Told him I didn’t want Denny Perkins anywhere around my family, stepdaughter or wife.”

    WAFB looked into Denny Perkins’ employment history as a law enforcement officer, which began in 1998 as a Walker police officer.

    His top reference on that 21-year-old employment application was Ard.

    The officer was investigated four years into his job for going to a wedding and a bar after calling in sick at work, the news station reported. He was found guilty of two counts of insubordination for abusing his sick leave, documents obtained by WAFB showed.

    Around the time of that investigation, Denny Perkins was attempting to move from the Walker Police Department to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office. The day in 2002 on which he was found guilty of insubordination by Walker police officials was his first day as a deputy working for Ard, WAFB reported.

    In his application with Livingston Parish, he admitted to previously using illegal drugs and stealing from former employers, the news station found. Ard vouched for Perkins, describing him as being “of good character” despite his being labeled a “high risk” hire, WAFB and WBRZ found.

    Denny Perkins later applied to become a DARE officer in Livingston Parish.

    “I also love children and would love to share the anti-drug message to our community’s youth,” he wrote.

    WBRZ’s reporters uncovered a 2011 restraining order against the deputy in which he was accused of using his patrol car to stalk a woman. Ard said he had no record of the restraining order -- despite his department having stamped the document as “received” in 2011.

    Perkins also improperly drove his patrol car to Toledo Bend for the fishing trip on which he was arrested on the child porn charges, the news station reported.

    Ard said his heart went out to the families of the children Dennis and Cynthia Perkins are accused of abusing.

    “I’m a father and I can’t even begin to imagine what they have to be going through,” Ard said.

    When asked what he would say to Perkins if given the chance, his answer was curt.

    “I don’t want to talk to Dennis Perkins right now and I have nothing to say to him,” Ard said.

    Ard called Perkins’ arrest a “sad day for law enforcement” last month.

    Webb argued against that characterization in his WBRZ interview.

    “It bothers me because when Denny was arrested, that is not a sad day for law enforcement,” Webb told the news station. “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.”

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