Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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CHALMETTE,La. -- Dave Peralta emerged from St. Bernard Parish Prison after spending about two hours in jail.

The parish president was booked, photographed and fingerprinted after his arrest for the alleged sexual battery of his estranged wife.

Earlier, he surrendered at the parish courthouse where a judge set bond at $20,000.

Peralta chose not to comment. His attorney Steve London spoke on the courthouse steps.

'It's going to be vigorously defended,' said London. 'The allegation, as far as I'm concerned, is baseless.'

The charge stems from a criminal complaint from Perata's ex-wife that he raped and beat her at their home in Meraux last October on her 49th birthday.

Her attorney Vernon Thomas released a statement saying, 'The evidence that the Attorney General's prosecutor presented was not baseless as stated by Dave Peralta's defense attorneys. The evidence and testimonies rendered an indictment by the grand jury.'

Sharon Peralta released her own statement saying, 'It isn't over yet. I will make a formal request and ask that all of the judges recuse themselves as they have in previous matters concerning David and I. My family and I can begin a healing process that will take some time.'

London said he's satisfied with the judges in St. Bernard Parish.

'The victim has no standing in court to ask for a recusal,' said London. 'That request must come from the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, which is prosecuting this case.'

London also said Peralta has no intention of stepping down from office.

'This is his personal life here,' said London. 'This isn't like he's been accused of taking a bribe, he's been accused of malfeasance. This has nothing to do with his position as parish president.'

Thomas disagreed saying, 'Dave Peralta used his position as Parish President to coerce and threaten Sharon Peralta's family and job if she did not sign the affidavit to the drop charges.'

The lunch crowd at local landmark Rocky and Carlos had mixed emotions about Peralta's arrest.

'I don't see how your wife can do that to you,' said one man who did not want to be identified. 'I believe it's a bogus charge. I don't think it's right. I believe he's innocent. I think they need to do a little bit more investigation.'

'He's a SOB,' said Brenda Kenna. 'I think he should resign. He doesn't need to be head of our parish if he can't control his things with his wife and the things that they do in their bedroom. Very embarrassed.'

Peralta is now expected to be arraigned July 23 at 9 a.m. at the St. Bernard Courthouse.

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