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Jurors watch lengthy rape video as Melanie Curtin trial begins in Livingston Parish

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 12:59 PM CST
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LIVINGSTON, La. (WAFB) - Jurors in the aggravated rape and video voyeurism trial of Melanie Curtin watched a nearly 20-minute video of Curtin allegedly taking part in the 2014 sexual assault of an unconscious woman, as the trial got underway in Livingston Parish on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Prosecutors said the video shows the victim, her head covered with a blanket, being raped by both Curtin and Dennis Perkins.

At the time, Perkins was a high-ranking member of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Perkins and Curtin were both married to different people at the time but the two had been having an affair with one another, prosecutors allege.

The video of the rape was discovered as investigators combed through mounds of evidence in the case against Perkins and his former school teacher wife, Cynthia. Dennis and Cynthia both face multiple charges for alleged sex crimes, including crimes against children. Their trials are scheduled for next year.

Prosecutors added the video they uncovered involving Melanie Curtin shows both her and Dennis Perkins taking turns recording, as each allegedly sexually assaulted the woman.

The female victim from that video was identified by name in court. However, since she is a reported victim of sexual assault, WAFB is not identifying her in this report.

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Curtin’s attorney, John McLindon, said his client is also a victim in the case and was herself drugged by Dennis Perkins before the alleged rape.

However, during opening statements Wednesday morning, prosecutor Barry Milligan of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, told jurors Curtin was “in complete control of herself both mentally and physically” during the 2014 alleged rape.

Judge Brian Abels, who is presiding over the case, cleared the courtroom of spectators and members of the media as jurors watched the video. The judge did so to protect the privacy of the victim, he said.

Milligan urged jurors to watch every second of the video so they could judge for themselves whether Curtin is, as he alleges, a willing participant in the rape of the woman.

“Don’t look away,” he told jurors. “You need to see with your own eyes what she’s doing in this video and how she’s doing it.”

During his opening statement to the jury, Curtin’s attorney told jurors that Dennis Perkins drugged both women that night.

“Melanie, likewise, was drugged and has no recollection of this,” attorney John McLindon told the jury. “She is not guilty of these charges.”

McLindon painted a disturbing picture of Dennis Perkins for the jury.

“One thing we agree on is he is a sick and dangerous man. He is controlling and emotionally abusive,” he said.

McLindon also said when the female victim was shown a snapshot of the video for the first time, she told investigators that Curtain, who she knows, did not look right. He added that should be an indication that she was not herself, possibly under some type of drug, like Ambien.

Curtin was a real estate agent when she first met Dennis Perkins and the two later worked together at the sheriff’s department.

Prosecutors said other evidence they uncovered allegedly shows Curtain and Dennis Perkins having sex inside some of the homes she had listed for sale as a real estate agent.

Curtin faces up to life in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to last several days.

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