A Louisiana middle school teacher will face a sentence of 41 years in prison after pleading guilty to a slew of sex-crimes charges including giving her students cupcakes laced with her then-husband’s sperm.
Cynthia Perkins, 39, accepted a plea deal on Monday – hours before jury selection was slated to begin for her trial – which resulted in the dismissal of 68 charges and agreement to testify against her ex-husband, disgraced sheriff’s lieutenant Dennis Perkins.
The former Westside Junior High School teacher pleaded guilty to second-degree rape, producing child pornography and conspiracy mingling of harmful substances
Cynthia and Dennis, both 46, were arrested in 2019 on more than 150 sex-crimes charges, including sexually abusing a child together.
Prosecutors told the Livingston Parish News they received ‘the blessing’ from the juvenile victim’s family to accept the plea deal, ‘knowing that 40 years is… a pretty long time in prison.’ They added that the three charges Perkins pleaded guilty to ‘were representative of what she had done.’
Cynthia and Dennis were arrested in October 2019 when authorities found a photo of the pair naked with a minor after receiving a tip from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
Dennis, who was fired from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office following his arrest, was indicted on 78 felony counts. Dennis had worked with the sheriff’s office since 2002 and was head of the SWAT team when he was arrested.
Cynthia, who resigned from her junior high school teaching job the day she was arrested, was hit with 72 felony counts in the indictment.
She had taught English language arts at Westside Junior High School since 2016. Prior to that, she worked at North Live Oak Elementary and Live Oak Middle School for four years.
Cynthia filed for divorce shortly after her arrest, alleging that Dennis had manipulated her into committing the crimes.
By accepting the plea deal on Monday, Cynthia waived any right to an appeal and an attempt to avoid conviction.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry also said she ‘spared the victims from reliving her horrific crimes during this particular trial.’
Her attorney, James Spokes, called the plea deal ‘the best possible outcome.’
‘We weighed all the options and available information, and considering the circumstances… We really feel as though this was the best decision,’ Spokes said.
‘Cynthia decided this was in her best interest. She feels a lot of remorse over what’s happened. We side with her when she says this was the best decision she could make at this time.
‘This is not the kind of case where people are going home happy, but this was the best possible outcome.’
The former teacher will also testify against Dennis in his upcoming trial, set to begin in May. The prosecution argued that her testimony would be extremely helpful to their case.
Spokes added that testifying gives Cynthia the opportunity to ‘tell her side of the story of what happened and be a part of bringing Dennis Perkins to justice.’
The former couple had also been hit with four lawsuits accusing them of feeding baked goods containing Dennis’ semen to Cynthia’s class at Westside Junior High School on two separate occasions in 2018 and 2019.
One of the complaints alleged that the father of a student who ate the contaminated cupcakes has fallen into a debilitating depression over the incident and has not been able to find gainful employment.
Another lawsuit claimed that a student and a parent have been afflicted by mental health and behavioural problems, and have not been able to sleep since the cupcakes incident.
In a suit filed last May, a student’s parents alleged that Cynthia showed the girl inappropriate images, and that she also photographed and videotaped the minor.
All four lawsuits, which were filed separately, also accused the Livingston Parish School Board of negligence.
It remains unclear at this time if the lawsuits will be taken any further.
Source: Daily Mail