NEW ORLEANS -- Multiple rape defendant and ex-model Dean Kelly is going back to jail.
A criminal court judge raised the 42-year-old's bond from $1.5 million to $2.5 million after hearing allegations stemming from a running Carnival house party at his parent’s home on St. Charles Avenue. Kelly has been confined to home incarceration with his parents since they put up the property last year to cover his bail.
In allegations eerily similar to the circumstances behind the two forcible rape charges against him, Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli said Kelly offered alcohol to underage girls who he invited into the family’s yard to use a Port-o-Let during Carnival parades.
Napoli said Kelly later texted harassing messages to the girls, which one of the girls reported to her father.
“He introduced himself using an alias,” Napoli argued. “When the girls refused to give him their phone numbers, he snatched their phones without their consent and punched in his number.”
Kelly asked one of the girls if she wanted to ride with him on a float in a parade the following day, Napoli said, something that would not be allowed under bail conditions. The girl refused the offer.
Kelly's attorney, Frank DeSalvo, offered a parade of witnesses who testified that Kelly attended the family’s Carnival parade parties, but mostly kept to himself while the festivities carried on all around him.
Several family friends and acquaintances said they saw Kelly at the party, but that he rarely strayed from the front porch away from the action.
But there were plenty of college-age girls being lured onto the property with the promise of a bathroom. A friend of the family, Caleb Turner, testified that he invited most of them.
“I pretty much invited the attractive girls,” Turner said. “I got lots of phone numbers.”
Kelly’s mother, Marilyn, testified that the parties were a family tradition for many years, and that no harm was done.
“We didn’t throw a giant party. The city throws a giant party,” she said. “We’re nice people. We were being accommodating.”
In his closing argument, Napoli told the judge, “I’m sure it’s not the intention of this court that a bunch of young girls are at this man’s house just waiting to be sexually assaulted.”
Judge Tracey Flemings-Davalier agreed that the family did not uphold its responsibilities of home incarceration, especially in light of the charges facing Kelly.
The ex-model, who appeared in a 1994 Aerosmith music video, faces two counts of forcible rape, kidnapping, pornography involving juveniles and carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Kelly was accused by several young women of enticing them with promises of access to Hollywood-type parties and movie sets, then forcing himself on them.
Judge Davalier said that if Kelly is able to make his new bond she will impose strict new conditions to keep Kelly away from the general public.
Kelly’s mother and wife, who flanked Kelly throughout the three-hour hearing, appeared shaken by the judge’s decision.
DeSalvo said he thought the allegations against his client were overblown and unproven.
"The judge weighed the evidence and made the decision that she thought was fair,” DeSalvo said. “I did not agree with her. It's not the first time I haven't agreed with a judge. Probably won't be the last."
DeSalvo said the family would try to raise the extra money for his new bond, which must be covered with cash or a personal surety bond. Kelly had been free since August, and appeared to be ready to finalize a plea deal when the Mardi Gras allegations surfaced.
Kelly’s case has been a running courtroom drama since his arrest in early 2011. What began as municipal charges against Kelly of contributing to the delinquency of minors escalated when a parade of new alleged victims came forward to lodge new accusations against Kelly, including rape and kidnapping.
That led to an earlier bond revocation which landed Kelly behind bars for almost a year while he awaited trial. During his time in Orleans Parish Prison, Kelly’s soap opera-like case featured a court appearance in which he collapsed, another court appearance in which he claimed he was beaten by other inmates and, finally, a contraband charge that was lodged when deputies allegedly found him in his cell with a metal pipe.
In an additional legal move to try to keep Kelly out of Orleans Parish Prison, DeSalvo filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging that Kelly’s return to OPP would violate his Constitutional rights because of the violent and dangerous conditions exposed by a proposed consent decree for federal intervention into the troubled lock-up.