NEW ORLEANS -- St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta has been ordered to appear in court next month. He'll have to explain to a judge why he should not be held in contempt.
Peralta faces a pair of court orders to refrain from contacting, harassing or interfering with the well being of his ex-wife Sharon Schaefer Peralta.
Last week, Judge Michael Kirby made the order part of a consent judgment in their divorce settlement. Another judge imposed a similar stay away order as a condition of Peralta's $20,000 surety bond while he awaits trial on a sexual battery charge.
The charge stems from a rape allegation by his ex-wife. Sharon Peralta complained to the court that her ex-husband sent her a series of emails from different email addresses.
"She has filed this paperwork on her own behalf," said Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Donald "Chick" Foret. "She makes serious allegations. She says that David Peralta is in contempt of court for reaching out to her, for harassing her."
According to court documents obtained by Eyewitness News, email@example.com writes on June 13, "is there any reason that i should not move forward with the divorce? please think this over and please at least show my the courtesy of giving me an answer. -- Dave"
Sharon responds: "How do I know this is Dave?"
firstname.lastname@example.org answers, "its me...thought the 'dumplin' would be the hint that you would pick up on."
A March 24 email from email@example.com states, "Why don't you give President P a call. He is worried about you, still cares and still in love with you."
Foret said if the complaint is proven, the judge in the divorce case could give Peralta up to six months in jail for contempt. The judge in his criminal case could also take action if the special prosecutors in the case from the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General take issue with the email.
"The attorney general may well get involved in the criminal case and ask the judge to modify David Peralta's bond, and then you're talking about the potential lack of freedom, and that's a very real possibility," said Foret. "His bond perhaps could be raised. His bond could be revoked."
A contempt hearing is now set for August 4.