St. Tammany man convicted of child sex crimes

Published 4:52 am Wednesday, December 20, 2017

District Attorney Warren Montgomery recently reported that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Dennis C. Mischler, 65, of Covington, guilty of two counts of oral sexual battery, molestation of a juvenile, and 54 counts of pornography involving juveniles. The jury deliberated 58 minutes before returning the verdict to District Judge August. J. Hand.

“This case is tragic, not only because of what the victims suffered, but also because the system failed them for 40 years,” Montgomery said. “The guilty verdict reflects the hard work of the investigators, prosecutors, the jury, and judge.”

Over a span of 40 years, Mischler molested male students, scouts, and family members, who all were in their early teens and younger when the crimes occurred. Among them was a 25-year-old man who testified that he was 13 years old when Mischler performed oral sex on him on two occasions in St. Tammany Parish in 2005. The victim said he was spending the night at Mischler’s temporary home in a FEMA trailer in Slidell after Hurricane Katrina one night, when he was awakened by Mischler performing oral sex on him. The victim also testified that on another occasion Mischler took him to a hotel to go swimming and later coerced him into performing oral sex.

This 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 now-51-year-old victim testified that he was an eager 14-year-old Eagle Scout when he was assigned to share a bunk with Mischler. When the lights were turned off, Mischler took the boy’s hand and placed it on Mischler’s penis three times and then pretended to be sleeping when the boy pushed him away.

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 Assistant District Attorneys Collin Sims (Chief of the Criminal Division) and Bruce Dearing (Chief of Trials) to testify in court about being molested by Mischler.

Mischler testified in his own defense, disputing all of the claims. He said all of the victims were lying.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office also assisted.

“This office will be relentless in pursuing evil-doers,” Montgomery said.