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After court tossed conviction in high-profile rape case, woman linked to infamous deputy released from jail

8 months 1 week 3 days ago Tuesday, October 10 2023 Oct 10, 2023 October 10, 2023 5:20 PM October 10, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - A woman sentenced to life in prison for her involvement in a rape case involving disgraced sheriff's deputy Dennis Perkins was released on bond days after an appeals court overturned her conviction.

Records obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit on Thursday show that Louisiana's First Circuit Court of Appeal ordered that Melanie Curtin, who was convicted of aggravated rape and video voyeurism in 2021, be given another chance in court. 

She was moved out of state custody and given a new bond of $350,000 Tuesday. Later that same afternoon, Curtin was released on bond from the Livingston Parish jail. 

The appellate court's decision cited evidence admitted into the original trial that "unfairly prejudiced" Curtin, including videos depicting sex in a dressing room and a photo showing Curtin with an unknown man.

The appeals court ruled that the trial court improperly excluded evidence related to the victim, who was married to Dennis Perkins at the time of the assault in 2014. The exclusions include evidence that the victim performed sex acts while a friend gave her "tips," as well as her history of "faking or feigned sleep" while sexually engaging with Perkins. 

The Louisiana Attorney General's Office, which prosecuted the case, is expected to appeal the ruling. 

Curtin was first arrested in the wake of the bombshell revelation in 2019 that Livingston sheriff's deputy Dennis Perkins and his wife Cynthia, who was a school teacher at the time, were booked for child sex crimes. Dennis married Cynthia after splitting from his previous wife, who was the victim in the 2014 case that landed Curtin in prison. 

While investigators were looking into the claims against the Perkins, they discovered a 17-minute video depicting the assault in 2014. The victim testified she was drinking with Curtin and Perkins and woke up the next morning with a hangover but no memory of what happened that night.

A defense attorney claimed Curtin was drugged at the time of the rape in which she allegedly participated, but no evidence was gathered that could verify that assertion.

Dennis and Cynthia Perkins took plea deals for their charges within the past year. Dennis was sentenced to 100 years in prison, and Cynthia was sentenced to 41 years.

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