Livingston Parish Courthouse

Livingston Parish Courthouse

A woman whom former Livingston Parish sheriff’s lieutenant Dennis Perkins and his mistress Melanie Curtin allegedly drugged and raped in November 2014 delivered emotional testimony in court Thursday, saying she “wanted to literally die” when she reviewed a portion of the 17-minute video of the alleged rape.

Investigators from the Louisiana Attorney General’s discovered the video during their sweeping search of Dennis Perkins’ home following his arrest in 2019. Curtin was arrested a few months later after investigators identified her as the woman Perkins allegedly videotaped the rape with.

Prosecutors have said the video shows the victim, who appears to be unconscious with a blanket over her head, being raped by both Perkins and Curtin, who took turns recording the assault with a cell phone.

The victim’s testimony marked the beginning of the third day of the trial against Curtin, who is accused of aggravated rape and video voyeurism stemming from the alleged incident that took place on Nov. 8, 2014. 

If convicted, Curtin faces life in prison. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The victim, whom The News is not identifying, testified that she has not seen the video in its totality, saying she “didn’t want to picture it” after investigators first showed her a segment of it. She said that she has no recollection of the night in question and that she never would’ve consented to sex with Perkins and Curtin.

At several points during questioning, the victim has to pause to collect herself.

“When I learned about it (the video), I couldn’t even wrap my brain around it,” she said. “I didn’t think it was possible.

“When I saw parts of that video, I wanted to literally die.”

When pressed on how much of the video or what portions of it she has seen, the victim was unable to give an answer, saying multiple times that she avoids thinking about it.

“I don’t want to picture it,” the victim said.

Curtin’s trial is part of a larger investigation against Dennis Perkins, a former lieutenant in the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, and his ex-wife Cynthia Perkins, a former middle school teacher.

Dennis and Cynthia Perkins were arrested in October 2019 and face of a total of 150 charges, including first-degree rape, producing child pornography, obscenity, video voyeurism, sexual battery of a child under 13 years old, and mingling harmful substances. Dennis Perkins is also accused of sexual abuse of an animal.

Neither of the charges against Curtin involve children.

Jury selection for Curtin’s trial lasted until late Tuesday night, allowing the actual trial to begin Wednesday. During their opening statements, attorneys on both sides tried to paint different pictures of Curtin’s involvement in the video at the heart of the case.

Prosecutors described Curtin as a willing participant in the “coordinated rape,” saying she was “in complete control of herself, both mentally and physically.” The defense has argued that Curtin was also a victim herself of Dennis Perkins, who Curtin claims drugged her the night of the alleged rape.

On Wednesday, jurors watched the video of the alleged rape and heard testimony from two forensics investigators who have worked the case.

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