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AG Jeff Landry denies special treatment given to child porn suspect

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has a reputation for being particularly tough on individuals accused of possessing or distributing child pornography.

In the past 12 months, his office has sent out 28 news releases regarding alleged crimes against children, nearly always accompanied by photographs of the suspects.

However, Landry’s office did not send out a news release about the January 2021 arrest of Gregory V. Campo, 22, of Baton Rouge.

Matthew Derbes, a former prosecutor in Landry’s office, alleges Campo received preferential treatment because of Campo’s political connections. Landry denies the allegation.

Campo is accused of possessing 18 “child sexual exploitation images” that showed the young girls “lewdly displaying their vaginal area,” according to his arrest warrant.

In some of the photos seized by investigators, images of Campo posing nude inside his Baton Rouge residence were superimposed onto other images, the warrant states.

The preferential treatment allegation was one of several lodged by Derbes as he abruptly resigned as assistant attorney general earlier this week.

Derbes said his reasons for resigning were many, including “the preferential treatment afforded a politically connected individual facing twenty counts of child pornography charges involving juveniles under the age of thirteen years old.”

Derbes, who was making reference to the Campo case, did not elaborate on what his alleged political connections are.

Campo was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on the child pornography charges on January 13, 2021, jail records show.

According to the arrest warrant, an investigator with Landry’s office first received information on Campo’s alleged crimes in April of 2019, nearly two years prior to the arrest.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Landry denied giving Campo any special treatment, saying the COVID-19 crisis prevented his office from arresting Campo sooner than it did.

“Early on in the case, it was brought to our attention that the defendant was in a long-term, out-of-state, residential treatment program. This along with COVID-19 slowed the process of effectuating an arrest of the defendant. Our office coordinated with the defense counsel to self-surrender his client. The client surrendered and posted a bail bond set by the judge in the amount of $80,000. The bond was consistent with similar cases of this nature in this jurisdiction,” the statement read.

Landry declined to answer questions about the Campo case during a news conference Tuesday that was called, in part, to address the resignation of Derbes.

Landry, instead, focused on how the reporter who asked the question received the information about the Campo case.

A spokesman for Landry’s office said Wednesday the “only arrests that are definitively put into press releases are the cases in which our office is seeking the public’s assistance.”

However, of the 28 news releases about crimes against children sent out by Landry’s office in the past 12 months, we could find only three that asked for the public’s assistance.

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