COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - This week, St. Tammany Parish authorities booked 62-year-old Dennis Mischler with child-sex crimes, including oral sexual battery and attempted simple rape stemming from alleged incidents in 2005-2006.
Detectives learned about the alleged crimes through an investigation into Mischler after they first arrested him for possession of child pornography last month.
Investigators say Mischler, who has lived in the Covington area for the past few years, worked as a teacher and Boy Scout leader in Orleans Parish for more than 30-years. Now, they believe there could be more victims across the metro area.
"We have an individual who certainly availed himself to an area where young boys were and we certainly don't want to disregard any of the potentials that are there," said St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain. "Our interest today is trying to get this individual's picture out there, make sure that parents whose children may have come into contact with him over the years, between St. Tammany and Orleans Parish, if you have any suspicions whatsoever, contact your local authorities."
Possible victims, authorities say, could now be adults who were in contact with Mischler years ago.
Stacie LeBlanc, Executive Director of the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center, said similar situations often leave unreported crimes.
"There are many, many adults walking around today who have never told about things that happened to them when they were children. Some of them may take it to their grave," she said.
LeBlanc stresses that if parents suspect their children may have been in contact with someone suspected of sex crimes, it's important to remain calm and address the situation immediately and thoughtfully.
"Stop what you're doing. Drop to eye level with your child or adult child. Let them know that this is the most important thing right here and now and then just reflect what they're saying. Just reflect. Don't ask a lot of questions. Just repeat what they're saying. Understand what they went through and then report it to authorities," LeBlanc said.
According to St. Tammany authorities, Mischler faced previous arrests in New Orleans and Arkansas, where he lived at some point after Hurricane Katrina.
However, they said prosecutors didn't accept charges in connection with those alleged incidents.
"Mr. Mischler was fortunate in two separate cases thus far, for those cases not to move forward to adjudication," Strain said. "I think you're going to see quite a different situation in St. Tammany."
Saint Tammany authorities wouldn't identify the school or schools where Mischler taught in New Orleans. NOPD officials said they don't have that information.
Mischler is now in jail on the Northshore and officials are pushing for a bond increase.
Anyone who may have information concerning this case or believe they may have been a victim of or know a victim of Dennis Mischler is asked to call Detective Warren Keller at 985-276-1339 or CRIME STOPPERS at 504-822-1111.