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Month: February 2018

Former Teacher/Scout Leader Gets 55 Years in Prison for Sex Crimes Involving Children

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Feb. 22, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Dennis C. Mischler, 65, of Covington, a former teacher, church and scout leader, was sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison for two counts of oral sexual battery, molestation of a juvenile, and 54 counts of pornography involving juveniles.

Before the sentence was announced, one of the victims, a family member of Mischler’s was allowed to give a “victim impact statement” on behalf of his family.  “You’re a monster,” he said to Mischler. “You tried to tear us down…You tried to make me a monster like you. You didn’t.”

Another victim, who also is a family member, submitted a four-page letter, which was read in court: “From the age of three until I was thirteen, you abused and raped me,” the letter said. “You did all this in the name of ‘showing your love,’ as you have told so many of your victims.”

The letter implored Mischler to think about the young lives he destroyed. “Over decades, starting with your mentorship as a teen with NORD Theater, you purposely and strategically placed yourself in our paths. You went on to use the role of teacher, scout leader, neighbor, active church leader, family friend, mentor and uncle, to steal the innocence of our childhood.”

Assistant District Attorney Collin Sims (Chief of the Criminal Division), who prosecuted the case, urged Judge Hand to give Mischler the maximum sentence. “We have an entire system failure,” Sims said, referring to previous times when boys reported that Mischler had molested them in other jurisdictions, but charges were refused.

Over a span of 40 years, Mischler molested male students, scouts, and family members, who all were in their early teens and younger—some as young as 3 years old—when the crimes occurred. Among them was a now 25-year-old man, who testified during Mischler’s trial in December that Mischler performed oral sex on him on two occasions in St. Tammany Parish in 2005. The victim was then 13 years old.

The criminal case began in 2010 with a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigation into a Canadian company that was producing and distributing child pornography. The company’s database listed Mischler, who by then had moved from New Orleans to Covington, as a client who had made at least four purchases over a six-month period. When investigators executed a warrant to search Mischler’s Covington home, some of the books and movies were found.

The molestation and oral sexual battery allegations were uncovered when investigators began interviewing those associated with Mischler. They also discovered that Mischler had been arrested for molesting children in three previous incidents, one dating back to 1980, when Mischler was a Boy Scout leader at Camp Salmen in Mississippi. The boy told his parents, who went to law enforcement officials, but the District Attorney’s Office in Mississippi refused charges after a preliminary hearing. Charges also were refused in Arkansas, when a then-13-year-old victim claimed Mischler touched him inappropriately while Mischler and more than a dozen relatives were staying in the victim’s home after evacuating for Hurricane Katrina.

Those two victims were among the nine men, who were called by Sims and Assistant District Attorney Bruce Dearing (Chief of Trials) to testify during the trial about being molested by Mischler.

Mischler testified in his own defense, disputing all of the claims. But the jury deliberated just under an hour before returning the guilty verdicts.

Referring to the many times that Mischler evaded punishment for his crimes, Judge Hand said: “In all my years, I’ve never seen such a system of failure.” Hand said he noticed that Mischler showed no sympathy for his victims and that he “treated them with disdain for coming forward.”

Hand sentenced Mischler to 10 years in prison on each of the oral sexual battery counts and 15 years on the molestation charge, the maximum sentence allowed for those charges. Those sentences are to be served at the same time. Hand also sentenced Mischler to 40 years in prison for the each count of pornography involving juveniles and 15 years for each count of pornography involving juveniles under 17. The pornography charges are to be served concurrently, but they are to begin after Mischler has completely served time for the oral sexual battery and molestation charges.

Mandeville Man Gets 40 Years in Prison for Forcible Rape of Two Juveniles

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Feb. 21, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that David Joseph Murray, 50, of Mandeville, pleaded guilty Tuesday (Feb. 20) to two counts of forcible rape and one count of molestation of a juvenile. District Judge Reginald Badeaux sentenced Murray to 40 years each on the rape counts and 20 years on the molestation charge. The sentences are to be served at the same time.

Murray pleaded guilty to raping a girl, who was 11 years old when the abuse began. The victim was pregnant at 13 years old, when her mother discovered Facebook and text messages between Murray and her daughter in which Murray referred to the unborn child as his baby. The victim disclosed to the mother that she had been having sexual intercourse with Murray. The mother contacted police.

Inappropriate sexual messages also were found on a computer between Murray and the victim in Jefferson Parish, where he was living at the time. During the investigation, a second victim disclosed that she was 7 to 8 years old when Murray also began touching her sexually and forcing her to touch him, and he eventually performed oral sex on her.

Detective Carli Messina of the St Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant District Attorneys Blair Alford and Luke Lancaster prosecuted the case.

The two victims and their family members were present in court and gave emotional impact statements. They agreed with the plea and thanked the criminal justice system, which they said worked for them.

Man Who Robbed Slidell Restaurant Pleads Guilty and Gets 35 Years in Prison

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Feb. 21, 2018

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Michael Troy Donato, 26, of Slidell, pleaded guilty Tuesday (Feb. 20) to two counts of attempted first degree murder, four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. District Judge Martin Coady sentenced Donato to 35 years in prison to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

In January 2017, Donato robbed several patrons at gunpoint inside Mr. Joe’s Chinese Restaurant on Gause Boulevard in Slidell. As Slidell Police Department officers arrived on the scene, Donato was exiting the building and opened fire on the officers. One of the robbery victims was seriously injured when she fled the restaurant, attempted to hide behind a vehicle to avoid the gunshots, and was run over by a car whose driver was also trying to flee the gunfire. Officers returned fire, striking Donato in the abdomen and leg. Donato fell to the ground and was apprehended by Officers Charles Goleman and Brandon Callais.

At the time of his plea, Donato gave a statement, taking responsibility for his actions and apologizing to the victims. He also thanked the officers involved for their sacrifice every day and for sparing his life that day. Officer Goleman was present in court at the time of the plea and thanked Donato for his apology and for taking responsibility for his actions. He also expressed his forgiveness to Donato.

Donato was represented by Attorneys Jason Williams and Nicole Burdett. The case was investigated by Louisiana State Police Trooper Chris Anderson and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness.

 

Jury Finds Folsom Man Guilty of Attempted Molestation and Aggravated Incest

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Feb. 9, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Todd Bennett, 30, of Folsom, guilty Friday (Feb. 9) of attempted molestation of a juvenile and aggravated incest of a victim under 13. He faces 25 to 99 years in prison when he is sentenced March 27 before District Judge Richard A. Swartz, Jr.

Bennett had been charged with two counts of aggravated rape, but he was found not guilty on one of the counts, and the jury found him guilty of attempted molestation of a juvenile in place of the second count. He was found guilty as charged of aggravated incest.

The abuse began when the victim was 10 to 12 years old, and Bennett was 18 to 20 years old. On multiple occasions through the years, Bennett touched her genitals, forced her to touch him, and once attempted to rape her. The victim testified during the trial that he also twice forced her to perform oral sex on him. She said she was afraid to tell anyone because Bennett had made threats.

As a teenager, the victim confided in a boyfriend about some of the abuse, and the boyfriend confronted Bennett on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. That’s when the victim’s parents learned about the abuse and contacted police. Bennett then fled St. Tammany and wasn’t arrested until July 2014, when he was picked up in Arkansas on the St. Tammany Parish warrant.

Assistant District Attorneys Jay Adair and Becky Jo Hollen prosecuted the case.

Jury Finds St. Tammany Parish Jail Inmate Guilty of Obscenity

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Feb. 8, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Stanton Guillory, 23, an inmate at the St. Tammany Parish jail, guilty Wednesday (Feb. 7) of three counts of obscenity.  Guillory is scheduled for sentencing by District Judge Raymond Childress on Feb. 22.

At the time that he was charged with obscenity, Guillory was a federal inmate, housed at the St. Tammany jail on various federal charges, including murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The federal charges involve an alleged murder-for-hire scheme that resulted in the death of a federal witness. Guillory also has an additional pending second degree battery charge.

The obscenity charges stem from three different occasions last year, when Guillory exposed himself and masturbated in front of female workers in the jail, despite multiple warnings for him to stop.