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Jurors view graphic rape video in second day of Livingston sex abuse trial

5 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago Wednesday, December 01 2021 Dec 1, 2021 December 01, 2021 5:03 PM December 01, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - During the second day of Melanie Curtin's trial, the jury had to endure a 17-minute video of a rape.

The prosecution said it showed Curtin, a former Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office employee, and Dennis Perkins performing oral and vaginal sex on one of Perkins' ex-partners, who was unconscious.

The prosecutor said the victim, who will be taking the stand later in the trial, was drugged by Perkins—a former narcotics agent for the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.

The public was sent out of the courtroom before the video was shown but was present when jurors saw still images from it. Some winced, and others eyed Curtin from across the room as they examined the pictures.

Curtin was arrested in January 2020 and charged with one count each of aggravated rape and video voyeurism. She has been out of jail on bond.

The charges arise from the investigation of a 2019 tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about an email account associated with Perkins potentially having child pornography. Curtin is not accused of any sex acts with children.

When Dennis Perkins was arrested, investigators searched his home and charged him with 150 counts, including rape, possession of child pornography and video voyeurism.

The 17-minute video that was taken Nov. 8, 2014, was on a four-terabyte external hard drive found in Perkins' home.

The prosecution introduced the video saying it was "shot with a certain amount of care."

The face of the victim is never shown in the video, covered up intentionally, so agents used a single tattoo to identify her.

Both the defense and prosecution cited text messages from that day and the following day as evidence in the case.

The defense said Curtin was at her home with her 8-year-old son when the victim texted her, saying she should come over and watch a movie with her and Dennis. Curtin initially refused, but when the victim insisted for the third time, Curtin and her son traveled to Perkins' home.

Milligan pointed to a text sent from Curtin to Perkins the next day. It said, "You passed smooth out."

Milligan told the jury, "It's consistent in what you'll see in the video."

In opening arguments, defense attorney John McLendon said Curtin was groomed by Perkins, with whom she had a relationship from 2013 to 2017.

McLendon said there was no evidence that Curtin drugged anyone and that his client was not aware the video existed and was never in possession of it.

A detective who was called to the stand said that Dennis Perkins had drugged a juvenile before, saying he gave the child a green pill to go to sleep before he raped her. It appears the defense used this testimony to prove that Perkins has drugged people before raping them in the past. 

The victim is set to testify in court Thursday. 

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