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Dennis Perkins dressing room sex video can be used in Curtin trial, judge rules

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A judge ruled Friday that jurors can see a video of former high-ranking Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy Dennis Perkins having sex with his former mistress, Melanie Curtin, inside a store’s dressing room.

The ruling came during a pre-trial hearing ahead of the scheduled June 1, 2021 start of Curtin’s trial.

Curtin is charged with aggravated rape and video voyeurism after investigators say they uncovered a 17-minute video of her assisting Dennis Perkins in allegedly raping a drugged and incapacitated woman.

RELATED: Louisiana sheriff’s deputy, school teacher wife arrested on child porn charges

Curtin claims she was actually a second victim in the alleged videotaped rape incident.

“There’s going to be evidence that Ms. Curtin was drugged and that she has absolutely no recollection of any of this taking place,” Curtin’s attorney, John McLindon, said after the hearing Friday.

However, prosecutor Barry Milligan, of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, said his team has “strong evidence” to support their case against Curtin.

RELATED: Judge denies motion to suppress evidence in child sex crimes case against Dennis and Cynthia Perkins

Dennis Perkins and his wife, former school teacher Cynthia Perkins, are set to go on trial in July. They are accused of a multitude of charges including rape, producing child pornography, and participating in feeding desserts laced with his semen to school children. Dennis is also accused of sexual abuse of an animal. The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Brian Wilson, a digital forensic examiner, testified Friday about first reviewing the 17-minute recording of the sexual assault. He said he first thought the woman allegedly assisting Dennis Perkins was his wife, Cynthia. But, he said, he knew from other evidence that Cynthia Perkins has two small birthmarks on her upper right thigh and he discovered the woman in the video did not.

Wilson said a search of other evidence found in the Perkins home turned up images of Curtin, leading him to identify her as the suspect in the disturbing video.

RELATED: Grotesque, graphic evidence presented against former Livingston Parish deputy, former teacher accused of sexual abuse of children

Prosecutors in the Curtin case asked 21st Judicial District Judge Brian Abels Friday to allow them to introduce two other sets of videos in addition to the one that shows the alleged rape, including the dressing room video.

The second video shows Curtin vacuuming Dennis Perkins’ truck while he shoots video up her skirt, revealing that she is not wearing underwear.

Prosecutor argued that the dressing room and car wash videos would prove to jurors that the two got satisfaction from “thrill-seeking” and risky sex situations. And, they contend, the additional videos would prove their assertion that Curtin would do “anything to please Dennis.”

RELATED: Dennis Perkins admits to crimes in BRPD job application

However, Curtin’s lawyer, John McLindon, argued the two additional videos would have to be “similar” to the alleged rape video in order to legally be introduced as evidence.

The presiding judge ruled that the dressing room does indeed meet that criteria and allowed it into evidence. However, Abels put off until trial his ruling on the admissibility of the car wash video, instructing prosecutor Milligan and his co-prosecutor, Erica McLellan, to research case law that might support their fight to admit that particular video.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling and we will continue to be here to administer justice,” McLellan said after Friday’s hearing.

RELATED: Dennis Perkins secretly recorded woman’s privates during traffic stop, prosecutor says

In a victory for Curtin, Abels ruled Friday that her lawyer can tell the jury in her trial about four other allegations involving Dennis Perkins:

  • That he allegedly drugged and raped another female on a separate occasion.
  • That investigators found sleep-inducing and date-rape drugs during a search of the Perkins home.
  • That investigators found text messages between Dennis and Cynthia Perkins allegedly discussing putting a drug in a woman’s drink.
  • That another adult female says she had dinner with Dennis and Cynthia Perkins and woke up the next morning with no recollection of what happened. She claims Cynthia Perkins then told her, “don’t worry, I took care of you.”

McLindon said he is contemplating asking for a change of venue in the Curtin trial because of pre-trial publicity. However, he says he will wait to start interviewing potential jurors during jury selection before deciding whether to make that motion.

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