A grand jury handed up a single count sexual battery indictment against St Bernard Parish President David Peralta Wednesday afternoon.
Peralta’s estranged wife accused him of raping her last year inside the couple’s home. Peralta claims the sex was consensual.
After hearing evidence all day on Wednesday, the grand jury opted to indict on the lesser sexual battery charge — not rape.
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office handled the investigation and presentation to grand jurors at the parish’s courthouse.
An arrest warrant will be issued for Peralta. His attorney says the parish attorney was surprised by the indictment but plans to turn himself in.
Peralta is expected to appear in court Thursday morning to answer to an arrest warrant now issued in the case. Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell, Buddy Caldwell’s son, said it could be difficult to get a St Bernard Parish judge to set a bond in the case because they may all recuse themselves.
In that event, the state supreme court would appoint a judge.
If convicted, Peralta could get ten years in prison.