Jury selection begins for former sheriff's office employee tied to sex abuse case
DENHAM SPRINGS - The jury selection for a trial involving former Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office employee Melanie Curtin ended Tuesday night and the jury trial will begin Wednesday morning.
Curtin has been tied to alleged sex crimes believed to be instigated by a once-married couple, Cynthia and Dennis Perkins of Livingston Parish.
The selection process was thorough and took all day, with potential jurors being asked whether they were familiar the Perkins case and whether they or someone they know has suffered from sexual abuse.
Dennis and Cynthia Perkins are both charged with a slew of sex crimes, many involving children. None of the charges against Curtin involve juveniles. She faces charges of rape and video voyeurism.
Court filings also revealed Dennis Perkins, who was a SWAT commander with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office at the time, used department property to "gather and/or create" illicit material.
Investigators say Curtin worked alongside Dennis Perkins at the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and eventually began assisting him and his wife, Cynthia, when they engaged in multiple sex crimes. In one instance, officials said Curtin helped Dennis Perkins film a video showing the rape of an unconscious victim that went on for for roughly 17 minutes.
The video is a key piece of evidence in Curtin's case, and many of the potential jurors were dismissed for having personal or religious objections to viewing the video.
Curtin's trial was originally scheduled for June, but was pushed back at the discovery of additional evidence pertaining to the case.
Dennis and Cynthia Perkins, now divorced, will be tried separately.
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