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DA's office recuses itself from prosecuting third suspect in Livingston child sex case

2 months 1 day 14 hours ago Tuesday, February 04 2020 Feb 4, 2020 February 04, 2020 11:14 AM February 04, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON – The case involving Melanie Curtin, the third mystery suspect accused of being involved in a disturbing child exploitation investigation that rocked Livingston Parish, is now in the hands of the Attorney General's Office.

The Livingston Parish District Attorney's Office has said it will recuse itself from the case. The DA's Office has also removed itself from prosecuting the cases of Dennis and Cynthia Perkins, which will also be handled by the Attorney General's Office. 

Sources said Curtin was arrested Saturday and charged with first degree rape and one count of video voyeurism.

Curtin was booked into the Livingston Parish jail Saturday morning.  See video of her being escorted into the facility here.

The suspect was first identified as “an unidentified adult female perpetrator” in a huge indictment of Cynthia and Dennis Perkins in mid-December. The couple was originally charged with child porn, rape, attempted rape, sexual battery and video voyeurism.

Cynthia, a public school teacher in Livingston Parish, and her husband Dennis, a sheriff’s deputy, were first arrested in October in what became a high-profile saga of sex crimes against children and allegations that high-ranking local authorities ignored red flags.

WBRZ reported Cynthia Perkins was accused of serving food covered in bodily fluids to students at the school where she worked. A parent told the WBRZ Investigative Unit, investigators said her child was positively identified on two different occasions being served what is believed to be tainted food brought to a school by Cynthia Perkins. There are reportedly recordings or images of children eating donuts and a cupcake-like item tainted with bodily fluids. 

According to the 44-page indictment, among the charges against Dennis Perkins are alleged crimes that involved him "ejaculating on various pastries and into bottles of energy drinks" which were consumed by unsuspecting victims.

Dennis and Cynthia Perkins were both indicted on 150 total charges in December.

Saturday, authorities said they arrested the third woman involved.

Watch WBRZ News 2 for breaking news updates to this story. 

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Dennis Perkins was the head of SWAT for the Livingston Parish sheriff.

The Livingston Parish sheriff has been at the center of controversy over previous complaints about Perkins and questions about if he responded appropriately. A Baton Rouge Police officer told WBRZ exclusively, he reported concerns to Sheriff Jason Ard about Perkins interaction with his stepdaughter. Ard rebuffed later, no written complaint was filed and described the incident as tickling that did not violate the law.

Cynthia Perkins’ background with the school system dates back to 2012 when she started working at Live Oak Middle. From 2013 to 2015 she transferred to North Live Oak Elementary then finally in 2016 to Westside Junior High where she taught until her arrest on October 23.

Curtin was arrested after she returned from a cruise; She was arrested when the ship returned to New Orleans. 

Curtin worked in the tax department of the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office in 2011 and 2012.  The sheriff released a statement about her previous employment there:

"Melanie Curtin has not been employed with the Sheriff’s office since August 13, 2012.  She worked for the Sheriff’s Office for roughly 18 months in the tax department.  She terminated her employment with this office on August 13, 2012."

"At the time of the alleged crime for which she was arrested, she was not an employee of this office," the sheriff said. 

A judge ordered that Curtin be held on a $350K bond Monday.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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