Judge approves Melanie Curtin’s request to move out of Louisiana

LIVINGSTON, La. – After her aggravated rape conviction was tossed last year, Melanie Curtin has been awaiting a new trial. Now, she’s not only fighting to stay out of jail, she’s also fighting to do it out of Louisiana.

Curtin became linked to Dennis and Cynthia Perkins, a Livingston Parish couple that gained national attention for their sex crimes involving children, though her courtroom battles diverge significantly from the Perkins’ legal entanglement.

While Curtin’s arrest coincided with that of Dennis and Cynthia Perkins, her case is centered around a specific incident on November 8, 2014, involving an adult woman and Dennis Perkins.

Curtin was convicted of raping the adult woman with Perkins’ involvement and was sentenced to life behind bars by Livingston Parish Judge Brian Abels in March 2022. Following her conviction, numerous questions arose about the exclusion of crucial evidence during the trial. One pivotal piece of evidence highlighted that the woman allegedly raped that night had previously engaged in group sex acts, a fact in contrast to her testimony.

Dennis Perkins opted for a plea deal instead of going to trial, resulting in a 100-year sentence for him on 78 charges related to rape, attempted rape, and child pornography production. Notably, the original aggravated rape charge, for which Curtin was serving a life sentence, was no longer applicable after Perkins’s guilty plea omitted it.

For Curtin to be found guilty of aggravated rape, the involvement of another party, in this case Dennis Perkins, is crucial. With Perkins’s guilty plea excluding the aggravated rape charge, the case against Curtin lost its foundation. Consequently, in October 2023, the First Circuit Court of Appeal dismissed the aggravated rape charge, leading to a new trial for Curtin. She was granted bond and has been out of prison since then, awaiting the Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision, as the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office appealed the First Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The case currently remains in limbo until the Louisiana Supreme Court makes a ruling. If a new trial is granted, Judge Abels aims to schedule it in early 2025.

Curtin was granted bond while the legalities play out. Two conditions of her bond included wearing an ankle monitor and staying in the state of Louisiana.

Now though, Melanie Curtin has requested moving out of Louisiana permanently. That motion went before Judge Abels on Feb. 26, 2024, and he granted the motion through her next court hearing in Aug. 2024. At that time, Judge Abels will make the decision whether to extend her move out of state or to rescind it.

Melanie Curtin leaving the Livingston Parish courtroom on Feb. 26, 2024
Melanie Curtin leaving the Livingston Parish courtroom on Feb. 26, 2024.

During the court hearing, lead prosecutor Barry Milligan from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office expressed opposition to Curtin’s request to relocate, citing concerns of her being a flight risk. Curtin surrendered her passport following her arrest. Additionally, Curtin has been in consistent attendance at court hearings.

Melanie Curtin is being represented by Julie Tizzard, who chose not to speak after the court hearing today.

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