[StBernard] State Police probed Sharon Peralta's complaint against police supervisor

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Apr 23 09:03:31 EDT 2014

State Police probed Sharon Peralta's complaint against police supervisor

Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Print Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Benjamin
Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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on April 22, 2014 at 6:42 PM, updated April 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Louisiana State Police confirmed Tuesday that it conducted an internal
affairs investigation into a complaint filed by Sharon Schaefer Peralta
against a supervisor involved in the probe of her husband, St. Bernard
Parish President Dave Peralta.

The complaint, filed Feb. 5, said in part that Capt. Kevin Devall, the State
Police investigation commander for southeast Louisiana, should have arrested
Dave Peralta after Sharon Peralta told police that he had raped her at their
home on Oct. 27.

Had Dave Peralta been arrested that day, he would not have been able to
threaten Sharon Peralta into signing an affidavit the next day saying she
didn't wish to see him prosecuted, she wrote in her complaint.

"He threatened to hurt me and my kids if I didn't" sign the affidavit, she
wrote about her husband in the complaint, which she provided to NOLA.com |
The Times-Picayune. In the document she also said that her husband later
"chuckled about not being arrested."

The rape accusation led to a State Police criminal investigation of Dave
Peralta and to the couple's contentious, public divorce battle.

State Police didn't arrest Dave Peralta, who has said the sex was consensual
and that he didn't rape Sharon Peralta. Police sent the results of their
criminal probe to the state attorney general's office, which has yet to say
whether it plans to seek an indictment against Dave Peralta.

The findings of the separate internal probe on Devall are being referred to
his superior, who will determine any action should be taken against Devall,
according to Doug Cain, the head of State Police's public affairs division.
He said agency policy bans Devall from publicly discussing the internal

Dave Peralta declined to comment this week about the complaint Sharon
Peralta filed against the State Police supervisor.

He said that it was Sharon Peralta's decision to sign the affidavit.

Depression, rape allegation and bondage

Sharon Peralta revealed her complaint in an interview this week, providing
her first public comments in response to her husband's claim that she was
suffering from depression and anxiety that caused her to exhibit "bizarre
behavior" and that she was on and off psychiatric medications, potentially
leading her to make up the rape accusation.

Sharon Peralta said she had begun taking antidepressants because of the
deaths of her sister and later her nephew, but she said Dave Peralta also
took antidepressants during their relationship. Unlike her husband, she
declined to have her interview videotaped.

She provided NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune a copy of a 2008 email message
she said Dave Peralta sent her during a short break in their burgeoning
relationship. In the message, Dave Peralta wrote that "these last six days
of not seeing you or talking with you have been the worst in my life" and
that, "Things have been so bad for me that I have had to seek out a
therapist and am now on antidepressants."

Sharon Peralta also said Dave Peralta had forced her to remain on her
medications but that by July or August 2013 she began to take herself off of

"I slowly took myself off the medication and I began to see things more
clearly to the things he was doing," she said. "I started to see him in a
much better light."

She said that since the rape she has experienced post-traumatic stress
syndrome and has began once again taking an antidepressant.

In his interview last month, Dave Peralta said the couple had engaged in
consensual bondage activity several times during their relationship, and
that's what happened on the day Sharon Peralta said she was raped.

She said this week that while Dave Peralta previously had used Velcro
restraints for her arms and legs during sex, that it always was at his
urging and that he had not used anything other than Velcro to restrain her.

That changed on Oct. 27, she said, when her husband - a former police
officer - used handcuffs for her wrists and then tied her to a rope hanging
from the ceiling. She was that was not consensual, and that they never had
engaged in that activity previously.

She said her husband then forced her to perform oral sex on him. After he
removed the handcuffs, she said she went to another room in the home but
that he followed her and raped her on a bed there.

That was on Sharon Peralta's 49th birthday. Dave Peralta said last month
that he never tied his wife to a rope hanging from the ceiling and that
Sharon Peralta had staged that scene for the photographs she later provided
to State Police.

But, he said that they did engage in some bondage activity that day and that
it was at her urging. He said that is "what she wanted for her birthday."

Interim LSU Hospital medical report

After she contacted authorities that day, Sharon Peralta went to the Interim
LSU Hospital in New Orleans for an examination. Her daughter, Ashley
Bertucci, 24, this week recalled picking her mother up and taking her to the
hospital that day.

"I just remember her, not only crying, but constantly repeating, 'You don't
know who he is. He will kill me, he will kill me. He will hurt me again,'"
Bertucci said.

She later added, "My mom was under his control the entire marriage.

"She was basically a prisoner under work release," Bertucci said. "She was
not allowed to see our kids or our grandkids."

The medical report from the Oct. 27 examination noted that Sharon Peralta
had a vaginal abrasion and a cervical strain. It also stated there was
"parallel reddened skin areas to both buttock cheeks" where she stated "she
was spanked very hard with flat palm," and it noted a reddened area to her
left neck where she stated "she was grabbed to back of the neck."

A registered sexual assault nurse examiner wrote in the report that Sharon
Peralta had said that she was afraid of her husband and that "she doesn't
want to see another birthday" and that she had a "very sad affect."

A rape kit was provided to State Police, according to the report.

Dave Peralta, in his interview last month, said Sharon Peralta's "so-called
injuries" detailed in the medical report "were staged" and

"I think she did it," Dave Peralta said last month. "I can't prove it, you
know, but it didn't happen as a result of me."

Dave Peralta not arrested

The complaint Sharon Peralta filed against Capt. Devall said that while
talking to two State Police officers at the hospital on the day of her
examination, "I was told in front of my daughter that they were going to
arrest my husband," according to a copy of the document that she provided.

Her complaint said the troopers told her she could return home to collect
her personal belongings. While at the Meraux home, she saw her husband and
Capt. Devall "smiling and talking to each other like two buddies," she wrote
in the complaint.

"Dave was not handcuffed he was walking around freely and allowed to go
outside to smoke a cigarette," Sharon Peralta wrote in that complaint. "I
was astonished by what I was seeing and witnessing.

"I was told to leave and they would handle things from there."

She also claimed in the complaint that Dave Peralta was able to threaten her
the next day into signing the affidavit because State Police did not
immediately arrest her husband. That affidavit stated that she did not wish
to see her husband prosecuted "for any offenses arising from the incident
which occurred at our home."

In the complaint, she wrote that before signing the Oct. 28 affidavit, Dave
Peralta had grabbed her hard. "It was so painful!" she wrote.

"He told me I better wipe my tears away and put a smile on my face," the
document said. "He told me we will walk outside hand in hand just in case
the media is waiting."

The complaint stated that her husband then drove her to the State Police
office in New Orleans and waited in his parked car outside the building
while his attorney took her inside to drop off the affidavit and to record a
statement for the State Police.

In that video statement, "I stated on camera that I wanted to drop the
charges but I stand by my statement he raped me," she wrote.

She told NOLA.com | The Times-picayune this week that Dave Peralta instead
had wanted her to deny the rape allegation altogether.

Dave Peralta said last month that he wasn't arrested on Oct. 27 because
State Police "knew they didn't have anything."

Asked last month about Sharon Peralta's previous claims that he had coerced
her into signing an affidavit, Dave Peralta said, "She decided to do it."

"I didn't even know that it was being done. I had no idea," he said.

In her complaint, Sharon Peralta said State Police had failed her.

"I believe he would never have been able to threaten me less than 24 hours
after assaulting me if he would have been arrested!" she stated.

"I don't know what phone call, name drop or police membership card Dave
threw at the officers to get out of being arrested," she wrote. "Whatever he
said was far more powerful than the bruises on my body, my torn vagina, my
cervical strain and neck and throat lacerations."

"As a victim who's assailant State Police allowed to go free to continue
terrorizing me, I have a right to know. Why he was not arrested???"

Cain, the State Police public affairs official, said Tuesday that the head
the internal affairs division, Maj. Cathy Flinchum, had determined a finding
in regards to Sharon Peralta's complaint and that State Police were sending
letters Tuesday to Sharon Peralta and Devall detailing the results.

Cain said that if the findings determined that Devall had acted improperly,
the results would be made public after Peralta and Devall had received their

Sharon Peralta said she said she had not wanted to discuss the complaint
publicly until the investigation had concluded. She said she had not yet
received the investigation's findings.

If Devall is found to have acted improperly, Flinchum would recommend any
disciplinary action to State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson, who
ultimately would decide on any action, Cain said.

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