Louisiana Judge Jeff Perilloux Disqualified From Any Judicial Function After Improper Sexual Contact Charges

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Previously reported hear that Judge Perilloux had been criminally charged for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl has now been stripped of ALL judicial duties pending resolution of the charges. Thank goodness. We do not need to have pedophiles sitting on the bench passing judgment on anyone for anything. 

Louisiana Judge Jeff Perilloux Disqualified From Any Judicial Function After Improper Sexual Contact Charges

The Louisiana Supreme Court has disqualified from all matters a judge charged with sexual crimes in ordering that he be and he hereby is disqualified from exercising any judicial function during the pendency of further proceedings in this matter

The Advocate reported on the charges in late June

A grand jury on Monday indicted a St. John the Baptist Parish judge accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl and groping two other teenagers.  

Judge Jeff Perilloux of 40th Judicial District Court was charged with three felony counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count of misdemeanor sexual battery, said Ruth Wisher, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Jeff Landry. 

Perilloux also is accused of sliding his fingers into the 15-year-old's bathing suit bottom during a family trip to Destin, Florida, last summer.

Florida authorities have not filed charges related to that incident. But the same girl, a friend of the judge's daughter, told Louisiana State Police that Perilloux touched her breasts on two other occasions — in St. John Parish — while giving her a massage. 

On one of those occasions, she said, the judge began "stroking" her breasts, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the lengthy investigation. Perilloux was the only adult present at the time of those incidents.  

Perilloux, 50, has denied the allegations but took a leave of absence in May after The New Orleans Advocate reported he was under State Police investigation. He handed his docket to his predecessor on the 40th Judicial District Court bench, retired Judge Mary Hotard Becnel.  

"I will spend every nickel that I have to defend myself and my family on these allegations," Perilloux told L'Observateur newspaper last month. "I am not a wealthy man, but I will spend every penny that I have to defend (myself) from these allegations."

The judge's attorney, David Courcelle, told WWL-TV on Monday that Perilloux "unequivocally maintains he has never done anything improper with any of the three alleged victims."

"He will vigorously defend himself against these allegations," Courcelle said. 

St. John judge takes leave of absence amid sexual assault claims; AG sets grand jury date

The investigation began last year after the girl told law enforcement officials that Perilloux had improper sexual contact with her at least three times, including the July 2017 incident in Destin.

In that incident, the girl said, she backed away from the judge after he slid his fingers inside her bathing suit bottom while the two were alone in his bedroom. She told State Police she had gone to the judge's room to ask him about extending the girls' curfew during a beach vacation.

She said the judge begged her "about 10 times" to let him proceed and told her not to be scared, according to the law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Two other girls who were on the Destin trip told detectives they were there when the alleged victim emerged crying from the judge's room.

State Police detectives reviewed Perilloux's text messages and interviewed several friends of the judge's daughter, including at least two who said Perilloux had done things to make them feel uncomfortable, such as patting them on the buttocks. One of them described Perilloux as "creepy."

The State Police reviewed at least 33 screenshots of text messages between the judge and the 15-year-old dating back to September 2015. The judge maintained frequent contact with her and told her at times that he missed her and loved her. He also would compliment her on her appearance in photographs she posted to social media, the law enforcement official said. 

The State Police investigation revealed that Perilloux would give spending money to his daughter's friends and kiss them on the cheek. One of the girls told authorities she thought it was "weird when (Perilloux) acts like that," the law enforcement official said. 

The indictment accuses Perilloux of committing "lewd or lascivious" acts upon two girls in May and June 2017 and "intentionally" touching the breasts of another girl in December 2017. 

Authorities in Okaloosa County, Florida, conducted a separate criminal investigation last year into the alleged assault in Destin. The status of that investigation was not clear Monday. 

St. John Parish judge accused of sexually assaulting daughter's friend; State Police investigating

Landry's office took on the case following the recusal of St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut.

Perilloux served for 12 years as an assistant district attorney in St. John Parish and was also the legal counsel for the parish government before being elected to the bench in December 2016.  

Perilloux's colleagues at 40th Judicial District Court also have recused themselves from the case. 

Criminal indictments frequently prompt the Louisiana Supreme Court to disqualify an accused judge on an interim basis, though that is not automatic. 

The indictment is not the first time Perilloux has faced criminal charges. He made headlines following a 2010 DWI arrest in which he threatened a State Police trooper and sought to use his reputation as a prosecutor to avoid going to jail.

"Do you know who I am?" Perilloux asked the trooper, according to a dash-cam video of the arrest. "I am the parish attorney. I'm not some lowlife."

That DWI charge has since been expunged, according to news accounts, and prosecutors declined to pursue a charge of public intimidation related to Perilloux's statements.

Perilloux later apologized for his behavior and said he sobered up following his arrest. 

The court took the same action in an unrelated matter recounted by the Times-Picayune

Three former Orleans Criminal District Court judges will step out of retirement to temporarily replace Judge Byron C. Williams as investigators look into groping accusations against Williams, according to orders by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The trio was formally tapped Monday (July 2) to rotate the spot on Williams' Section G bench.

Judge Dennis J. Waldron will oversee Section G from July 9 through Aug. 5. Retired Judge Calvin Johnson is set to take over Aug. 6 through Aug. 31. Retired Judge Jerome M. Winsberg presides Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, according to the orders signed by Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Greg Guidry.

The three judges have come out of retirement in the past to assist the local court.

In 2015, Waldron, Johnson and Winsberg rotated through temporary assignments in criminal court after Judge Frank Marullo's departure from Section D. Marullo retired after he was ordered off the bench by the state Supreme Court because he had passed the age limit for judges.

Waldron, Johnson and Winsberg filled in for Marullo until the state Supreme Court appointed a more permanent replacement ahead of the 2016 election and subsequent swearing-in of current Section D Judge Paul Bonin.

Known for his punctual proceedings, Waldron has decades of experience on the bench. He was sworn in as Orleans Criminal District Court's Section F judge in 1982 and served for 26 years before his retirement in late 2008. Prior to serving as judge, he spent eight years as a prosecutor.

Since retiring, Waldron has taken on high-profile ad-hoc assignments, including state proceedings for Central City drug kingpin Telly Hankton.

Johnson also retired in 2008, leaving the Section E bench after 17 years. He was first elected to the court in 1990, becoming the first African-American elected to a Louisiana state court without having been first appointed, according to a 2008 The Times-Picayune article about his retirement.

Current Chief Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson took over Section E in 2008.

Judge Calvin Johnson is known for launching the first mental health court in Louisiana in 2002. He also served as chief judge of the criminal court during Hurricane Katrina and played a key role in getting the courthouse reopened within a year of the storm's hit.

He has continued to play a part in public service since his retirement--most recently, Johnson became part of a team of investigators tasked with probing Entergy's practices after it was revealed that paid actors and other supporters purposefully kept opponents out of hearings for a proposed power plant. 

Winsberg retired in 1996 after 24 years on the criminal court bench and devoted his efforts to practicing law, according to a 1996 The Times-Picayune article.

Since his retirement, he has returned to the bench to oversee proceedings for a number of prominent cases, including trials for the Angola 5 and for a former Plaquemines Parish judge convicted of stealing public money.

The three judges now take over for Williams, who took a leave of absence amid an investigation into allegations that he inappropriately touched a courthouse employee and made inappropriate comments from the bench.

Earlier this week, Williams' attorney, Ernest Jones, told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune his client's leave of absence began Monday. Jones attributed the judge's decision to step aside to the "highly publicized" allegations, noting Williams denies the allegations.

Williams' leave of absence will continue until the Judiciary Commission completes its investigation, according to a statement from Jones.

Source: Professional Legal Blog