Former teacher, Scout leader sentenced

Published 4:56 am Saturday, February 24, 2018

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reported late Thursday 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 reportedly 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 3 until I was 13, 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.