St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta pleaded not guilty in St. Tammany Parish on Monday to a felony charge of stalking his ex-wife.
Defense attorney Martin Regan entered the plea on behalf of Peralta, who attended the brief proceeding at 22nd Judicial District Court but said nothing. Judge Richard Swartz presided over the arraignment.
Peralta was indicted by a state grand jury in September for allegedly harassing his ex-wife, Sharon Schaefer. He was released at the time on a $35,000 bond.
Schaefer has said in court filings that Peralta continued to “harass and threaten” her for months after an agreement was reached by the ex-couple’s attorneys stipulating that neither would contact the other.
The case in St. Tammany marked the second time Peralta was indicted this year. He was charged in April with one count of sexual battery in connection with an October 2013 incident in which Schaefer, then his wife, has alleged that he brutally raped her in the couple’s Meraux home. Peralta has said he engaged in “rough sex” with Schaefer on that occasion, at her request, and he has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Both cases are being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office.