EDGARD, LA (WVUE) –
A source familiar with the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by a St. John the Baptist Parish judge says there may be more than one victim.
The case has forced at least two judges to recuse themselves, and it appears to be headed to a state grand jury.
The judge in question, Jeff Perilloux, was previously the focus of a Lee Zurik investigation into DWI and allegations of public intimidation. Now Perilloux, the former St. John Parish attorney and current district judge, is the subject of a state investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 15-year-old girl and possibly two others.
“This is very serious. This is not a small misstep on a judge that requires a slap on the wrist,” said Robert Hjortsberg, a criminal defense attorney who is not connected to the Perilloux case.
At least one of the allegations arose out of Destin, FLA, where a friend of the judge’s daughter accused Perilloux of groping her. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying it’s an active investigation:
“We responded to an initial report in reference to child abuse/neglect on July 15th, 2017 at 1:26 p.m. from a unit at 1111 South Santa Rosa Boulevard. Once the case is closed, it will become public record.”
Perilloux’s attorney, David Courcelle, told FOX 8 that “Judge Perilloux is confident that in the end, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
But multiple cases in and out of Louisiana could pose big challenges.
“It’s difficult. It makes it hard – extradition, high bonds – you have to go back and forth,” Hjortsberg said.
Perilloux is currently the chief judge in St. John Parish, operating out of the Edgard Courthouse where two other judges – Madeline Jasmine and Sterling Snowdy – recused themselves from signing State Police search warrants in the Perilloux case.
The St. John district attorney has also recused his office from handling the investigation.
“You have your [assistant district attorneys] practicing before this judge every single day,” Hjortsberg said. “To go in there and prosecute this judge, it would be difficult for a DA to maintain impartiality, especially in a small parish like that.”
An ad hoc judge was brought in to sign the LSP search warrants. Sources also say the State Judiciary Commission is investigating whether any action should be taken against Perilloux
State supreme court spokesman Robert Gunn tonight issued a statement saying:
“If a judge has been indicted or charged with a serious crime, or if the Judiciary Commission has substantial evidence that the judge may pose a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or the administration of justice, then the Judiciary Commission may recommend that the judge be disqualified while the matter is pending."
If any action is taken, the Louisiana Supreme Court would cast the final vote.
We reached out to Perilloux for comment but have not heard back.
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Published at Thu, 10 May 2018 01:29:00 +0000