Michael Stephen Couch, former principal of Apostolic Tabernacle Christian School, pled guilty Monday to five counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, said Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mack Lancaster.
Each offense involved a different juvenile, Lancaster said.
This case and the cases of Greg Stephens and Roderick Ellis moved through Fifth District Court this week while Melinda R. “Lynn” Dungan’s case was held Jan. 7.
Couch, 41, of Winnsboro, faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison with or without hard labor, $5,000 fine and must register as a sex offender.
A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered by Fifth Judicial District Judge John “Clay” Hamilton for May 4 with sentencing scheduled for May 13.
On Feb. 26, 2018, a Franklin Parish Grand Jury indicted Couch on 11 counts of sexual misconduct. He was charged with five counts of molestation of a juvenile and six counts of prohibited sexual misconduct between an educator and a student.
The offenses reportedly happened between 2004 and 2017 and involved male students ranging from ages 14 to 18 who attended the Apostolic Tabernacle Christian School.
After the indictment, Couch turned himself in to Franklin Parish Sheriff authorities Feb. 26, 2018 and was booked at the Franklin Parish Detention Center with bond set at $280,000.
Later on March 13, Couch pled not guilty in the Franklin Parish Courthouse to five counts of molestation of a juvenile involving five students and six counts of prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student.
In another case, Dungan, 62, pled guilty to manslaughter and obstruction of justice in the 2017 disappearance of 71-year-old Enloe Fletcher Deen.
Pre-sentencing is scheduled for early March, and a sentencing hearing is set for March 10.
A manslaughter charge carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison while an obstruction of justice charge carries a 10-year cap.
Dungan, Deen’s girlfriend, was arrested May 30, 2018 by the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office on charges of second degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
“This was a very long investigation of a horrific and violent crime,” said Sheriff Kevin Cobb. “It is my hope that the family of Mr. Deen can have some resolution in the justice of this case.”
Dungan’s brother, William Todd Dungan, and sister-in-law, Martha S. Dungan, of 1260 Hwy. 858, Delhi, were arrested May 30 as well. Charges of conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact are pending.
The two are out of jail on bond.
Meanwhile, Stephens, 55, pled guilty to second degree kidnapping and second degree rape.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 15 years suspended and three years probation in connection to a May 18, 2017 Franklin Parish offense. He also has to register as a sex offender.
Additionally, Roderick Ellis, 31 pled guilty to an amended charge of attempted possession of a firearm by a previous convicted felon.
Ellis was sentenced to five years with the Department of Corrections. His original charge was possession of firearms by a previous convicted felon.
“I would like to thank all of the law enforcement agencies that worked with each of these cases,” Lancaster said. “Their hard work and dedication truly showed. I would also like to thank my assistant DA Caroline Hemphill and first assistant DA Penny Doucidre for all of their hard work.”