William McDonough

William McDonough

The allegations against a financial planner charged with rape continue to grow, but a New Orleans judge last week allowed his release on a higher bail and an ankle monitor over a prosecutor's objection.

Two more women have now accused William McDonough of rape, according to prosecutors, and his lawyers acknowledge that he violated a court order by contacting one of his accusers this month.

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier called the latest developments “troubling,” but she declined to revoke McDonough’s bail, instead raising it from $30,000 to $100,000, which he posted.

Flemings-Davillier said she balanced the new accusations against McDonough’s behavior in the original case she is overseeing.

“Mr. McDonough has shown up to each of his court settings, and there has not been any additional allegations of violations with respect to this particular case,” she said.

Her decision came over the objections of a prosecutor, who asked her at a May 14 court hearing to have McDonough held without bail until a trial.

McDonough’s first arrest came in October 2016. A woman said she met him through a dating app and he raped her after they returned to his condo at the Cotton Mill building in the Warehouse District.

McDonough owns that condo but lives in Natchez, Mississippi.

He has been free on his original $30,000 bail in that case. But earlier this year, another woman accused him of raping her in the same apartment on the night of the Muses parade in late February.

Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn set McDonough’s bail at $50,000 in that case and ordered him not to contact the woman. But as his attorneys acknowledge, days after his release McDonough contacted the woman seven times in one night.

Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli said in court last week that a third woman had come forward to accuse McDonough. The woman said he sexually assaulted her at least two times, and that she also witnessed him having sex with a woman who had “passed out,” according to Napoli.

Napoli said having McDonough out on the streets would be “an absolute public safety risk.”

“There's no amount of money that can erase that ... the only solution here is that he be treated like every other rapist in this section and put in jail,” Napoli said.

However, defense attorney Michael Ciaccio said Flemings-Davillier should take into account that McDonough knew the accuser who had the protective order well.

Fellow defense lawyer Frank DeSalvo said the judge could address concerns about McDonough’s risk to public safety by placing him on an ankle monitor. The judge agreed with him.

Flemings-Davillier’s decision to allow McDonough to be released on bail drew the ire of a civil attorney for his first accuser, who is suing McDonough in Civil District Court.

Chris Murell, the former executive director of the Louisiana Capital Appeals Project, said McDonough was the beneficiary of a double standard at the courthouse.

“After having been involved in public defense for more than a decade at this courthouse, if (accused) serial rapist Will McDonough was not white and privileged, if he was poor, black and indigent, no judge in this courthouse would not have revoked his bond and remanded him,” Murell said. Flemings-Davillier, the judge, is black.

The latest allegations against McDonough will likely delay his trial in the first case, which had been set for June 4. Prosecutors could now charge him with one or more additional rape counts and protective order violations.


Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.