ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, La. — A St. John the Baptist Parish judge accused of inappropriately touching several teens took the stand Friday during his trial, defending himself after the testimony of the three teenage girls accusing him.
Jeff Perilloux has been suspended as judge of the 40th Judicial District while the trial is ongoing.
He is accused of groping his teenage daughter's friends and faces three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, plus one misdemeanor count of sexual battery.
Perilloux denied touching the girls, saying he was rubbing lotion on their backs.
When asked if he had given inappropriate massages to a 15-year-old, he denied it to reporters outside the courthouse.
"I wasn't giving her massages. I was simply rubbing her neck," the judge said.
In response to testimony from one girl that he had reached under her shirt, Perilloux told reporters "I didn't touch her breasts. Period."
Under cross-examination, he admitted he had once bought alcohol for the underage girls on a beach trip.
Perilloux also admitted that he was wearing only underwear when he applied vapor rub to a 17-year-old's chest.
"I pulled her t-shirt a little to put it on the top of her chest," he told the jury under oath.
In addition to removal from the bench, Perilloux faces up to seven years in prison for each count of indecency if convicted.
Closing arguments begin Saturday, after which the jury will deliberate on a verdict.