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Judge Waldron overseeing Perilloux’s indecent behavior case; Judge Becnel serving in Perilloux’s place

LAPLACE — Elzey Jeffrey Perilloux didn’t have anything to say when an overanxious television reporter yelled “are you innocent?”

Elzey Jeffrey Perilloux

The brief encounter occurred Tuesday night, just after 7 p.m., as Perilloux was exiting Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace following his booking on three felony counts of indecent behavior with juveniles and misdemeanor sexual battery.

The currently “on leave” 40th Judicial District Court Division “B” Judge for St. John Parish posted a cash bond after Ad Hoc Judge Dennis Waldron set it at $35,000.

According to jail records, Perilloux was given a stay away order from his alleged victims.

Perilloux didn’t answer any questions Tuesday night, instead choosing to leave jail in relative silence via a dark colored four-door sedan with members of his legal team.

Prior to Perilloux exiting, a member of his legal team addressed the contingent of media members waiting Tuesday in the parking lot, saying the prosecution’s case against the judge lacked physical evidence.

That sentiment was backed a few hours previously by an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office decision not to press charges against Perilloux, who had been under investigation by the agency since July 15, 2017, following a criminal complaint of sexual misconduct from a 15-year-old female friend of Perilloux’s daughter.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said Florida officials could reconsider charging Perilloux depending on the result of a Louisiana-based criminal prosecution of Perilloux currently underway.

Louisiana case

Authorities say on four occasions from May to December 2017, Perilloux assaulted a juvenile in a sexual manner in St. John the Baptist Parish. A grand jury indicted him Monday afternoon.

In total, police and prosecutors are alleging three victims were targeted, including the teenaged girl who accused him of sexual assault in Florida.

The indictment indicates once in May and twice in June, Perilloux engaged in indecent behavior with a juvenile by committing a lewd or lascivious act upon the person or in the presence of a child under the age of 17 with the intention of arousing or gratifying his sexual desires.

It is also alleged that in December Perilloux committed misdemeanor sexual battery when he intentionally touched the breasts of a victim using his hands without consent of the victim.

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office is handling prosecution after receiving the investigation materials from Louisiana State Police. Judge Dennis Waldron has been assigned the case, and a Clerk of Court Office representative said Friday morning, a court date has yet to be submitted for record.

On Leave

Perilloux has been “on leave” from the bench since voluntarily stepping down May 16 following published accounts of the criminal investigations into his behavior with underage females.

Judge Mary Hotard Becnel was assigned as judge pro tempore and is handling the duties of Division B during Perilloux’s leave. Becnel’s term was scheduled to last through June but was extended Friday by the Supreme Court of Louisiana through July 24.

Perilloux “categorically” denies the charges he currently faces.

“I will spend every nickel that I have to defend myself and my family on these allegations,” he said six weeks ago. “I am not a wealthy man, but I will spend every penny that I have to defend (myself) from these allegations.”

Perilloux’s attorney, David Courcelle, said “(Perilloux) will vigorously defend himself against these allegations,” when speaking Monday with L’OBSERVATEUR. Courcelle did not return a call Thursday seeking further comment.

History

Perilloux was elected judge in December 2016 and began serving the following month following an election to fill the unexpired term of departing Judge Becnel.

The 40th Judicial District Court covers St. John Parish and is divided into three divisions. The general jurisdiction court hears civil, criminal, traffic, juvenile, family and probate matters.

Perilloux previously served for a dozen years as an assistant district attorney in St. John Parish. He was also a legal counsel representative for St. John the Baptist Parish Government.

Perilloux was arrested in 2010 for drunken driving, an arrest that included dash-cam footage of Perilloux telling State Police “I am the parish attorney. I’m not some lowlife.”

The DWI charge was expunged, and prosecutors did not pursue additional charges.