Investigation of wife’s claim continues
St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta said Tuesday that his wife has withdrawn a sexual assault complaint against him, a day after State Police revealed they are investigating an allegation against the first-term parish leader.
Though details of the incident remain limited, Peralta’s statement Tuesday — released by a public relations firm in Metairie — was the first to acknowledge it was his wife, Sharon Schaefer Peralta, who filed the complaint.
The couple married in March 2012.
The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office turned over the investigation to State Police immediately after learning of the allegation. Troop B spokeswoman Melissa Matey said that investigation continues.
Law enforcement agencies typically proceed with domestic investigations even after a complainant retracts allegations.
“Today my wife Sharon informed Louisiana State Police in a video statement that she has decided to drop all charges stemming from a domestic disagreement,” Peralta said in the statement. “It is regrettable that law enforcement officials were summoned into this personal dispute. Sharon and I are sorry that this matter has escalated beyond a private matter.”
Peralta had previously called the allegation “baseless” and said it stemmed from a domestic dispute.
“I am disappointed and embarrassed by the baseless allegations made against me,” Peralta said Monday. “This is a sad and baffling domestic issue that should have never risen to this level. In short time, I am confident this will be resolved.”
Peralta did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
State Police investigators have executed a search warrant in the case. Matey, the State Police spokeswoman, declined to release an initial report and information about the location that police searched because of the ongoing investigation, saying there is no timeline for when the investigation will be finished.
A copy of the executed search warrant had not been returned to the St. Bernard Parish Clerk of Court’s Office by Tuesday afternoon.
Matey declined to address Peralta’s assertion that his wife sought to dismiss the complaint against him.
“We are going to continue the investigation and we are going to continue to gather all facts, evidence and information,” she said. “We will complete our case report and turn it over to the St. Bernard District Attorney’s Office for further review.”
Peralta served as a New Orleans police sergeant and a major with the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office before defeating former parish President Craig Taffaro in 2011.
He also served as chief administrative officer for two years under former President Henry “Junior” Rodriguez.
Taffaro fired him in 2008.