New details emerge in St. Bernard Parish president's legal battle

Published: Jan. 21, 2014 at 10:41 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2014 at 11:52 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA - "My wife and I just got back from a trip to Disney World. We had a great time, and we're planning a big trip over the Thanksgiving holidays."

That's what St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta told FOX 8 back in November, just a couple of weeks after his wife accused him of sexually attacking her.

The Louisiana State Police took up the case, but days after the charge was made, Peralta said his wife dropped it.

"I think it was a big misunderstanding, and just things kind of got out of hand a little bit," he told FOX 8 in November. "It was a personal matter between my wife and I."

Their reconciliation didn't last.

In December, Dave Peralta filed for divorce, telling the court that his wife "has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented his actions and words."

The parish president said he feared for his safety and well-being, and in December asked for a temporary restraining order against her.

Sharon Peralta responded with a protective order of her own just last week, citing the incident that sparked the State Police investigation.

In paperwork filed Friday, she said her husband forced her to have sex with him, hitting and handcuffing her as she refused.

She also told the court that Peralta threatened to fire her from her job with St. Bernard Parish government if she didn't listen to him or lie for him.

"A restraining order is fairly common," says FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. "A rape allegation, not so much."

Raspanti said the restraining orders won't influence the ongoing criminal investigation into the sexual assault charge.

State Police investigators turned their findings over to the St. Bernard District Attorney's office, which has recused itself.

Now the Louisiana Attorney General's Office is looking into Sharon Peralta's claim.

Members of the St. Bernard Parish Council don't want to talk about the couple's legal battle.

Ray Lauga told FOX 8, "This is a domestic issue between Mr. Peralta and his wife. This personal issue has not affected the operation of parish government at this point."

Dave Peralta also would not comment, saying in a statement that parish policy prohibits him from talking about matters currently in litigation. He also asked for privacy.

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