Former Tulane student avoids prison, sent to addiction treatment program

NEW ORLEANS -- A former Tulane University student will avoid prison time after admitting to a series of unsettling break-ins near the campus in January.

According to our partners at The Advocate, 23-year-old Oliver Jerde pleaded guilty on Sept. 1 to four counts of  simple burglary after striking a deal with prosecutors. He received a 10-year suspended prison sentence and five years of probation, according to court records.

Jerde was also allowed to transfer his probation to Minnesota, where he has been undergoing medical treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, court records show.

"Oliver Jerde has accepted responsibility for his actions in January of this year," his attorney, Randy Smith, said in a statement. "Oliver is truly sorry for any harm his actions caused and is grateful for the opportunity to continue his recovery and return to a productive life."

Police had accused Jerde, a philosophy major whose father was prominent Los Angeles architect Jon Jerde, of committing a bizarre series of overnight break-ins near the university.

In most cases, he stole items like jewelry and women’s clothes, but in one instance, he appeared to have used a woman’s open laptop to leave messages about masturbation and rape on her Facebook account.

Shortly after officers arrested Jerde inside a house in the 800 block of Pine Street, police took a sample of his DNA to determine whether he was involved in two rapes and a sexual battery that occurred at roughly the same time and in the same area as the break-ins.

Dawne Massey, a New Orleans Police Department spokeswoman, said Friday that all three incidents remain under investigation. Jerde was not charged in any of those sexual assaults.

"It’s my understanding he was totally cleared" in those cases, Smith said. "Otherwise, there's no way the plea deal would have gone forward."

For the full story, visit The Advocate's website.

(© 2016 WWL)


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