Sharon Schaefer, the ex-wife of embattled St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta, has filed a civil suit in state court against the first-term parish leader for damages related to an incident last October in which she alleges that he brutally raped her.
Peralta has maintained that he engaged in “rough sex” with his wife on that occasion at her request in the couple’s Meraux home. Faced with the allegations, Peralta was indicted in April on a sexual battery charge by a state grand jury in St. Bernard Parish.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in 34th Judicial District Court in Chalmette, seeks more than $50,000 in damages. In it, Schaefer’s attorney, Stephen Rue, largely rehashes a litany of allegations against Peralta, including that he “raped, sexually battered and sexually assaulted” his now ex-wife on her 49th birthday, and that he kept her handcuffed while beating her.
The six-page lawsuit contends that Peralta tied up and hung Schaefer from a rope attached to a ceiling, “restrained, brutally beat and battered, threatened and otherwise prohibited” her from leaving the home, causing an “intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress.” That anguish has continued, the suit states, as Peralta has allegedly stalked his ex-wife, including “coming by her residence” and sending threatening emails, texts and letters.
After the incident, the suit contends, Peralta “made intentional false statements to the media and other third parties” saying the sex was consensual, when the suit alleges it was not. Schaefer “expressly denies any acts of ‘role playing’ ” on that date, the suit states.
The suit seeks a jury trial. It states that Peralta’s statements defending his actions were “nothing more than 50 shades of lies in a pathetic attempt to disparage the victim of such heinous acts.”
Damages should include compensation for past and present pain and suffering, mental anguish, a loss of life’s pleasures, medical and mental health care expenses and loss of earning capacity, according to the lawsuit.
Peralta was indicted last month by a state grand jury in St. Tammany Parish on a charge of stalking Schaefer. He surrendered to authorities two days later and was released on a $35,000 bond.
The felony stalking charge followed the sexual battery charge handed up by a St. Bernard grand jury in April.
Both cases are being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office.
Reached by telephone Tuesday, Peralta said he had no comment on the lawsuit.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.