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Louisiana parish president accused of harassment during divorce

Conflict is common between Louisiana spouses at the end of a marriage, but sometimes tension and hard feelings get out of control. Emotions can run very high during divorce, especially when the relationship has a history of adultery or abuse. Baton Rouge spouses can take legal steps to protect themselves from harassment and harm.

The former wife of the St. Bernard Parish president was granted a divorce on the same day she filed a claim her ex violated a restraining order. The woman said her then-husband continued to contact her and her family members by email and used the family's identities while posting comments on the Times-Picayune website NOLA.com.

Court papers requesting a contempt charge said the threatening emails were disruptive to the woman's life and inspired "fear and anxiety." The restraining order was issued in February. The spouses were ordered not to harass, abuse, threaten or endanger the well-being of one another through any form of communication, including electronic devices and related online comments.

The divorce proceeding paralleled a claim by the woman that her husband raped her in October. The parish president is awaiting arraignment on a sexual battery charge that was filed in April. The man denied the allegation.

The couple's March 2012 marriage ended with a separation last December. As evidence of harassment, the ex-wife supplied the court with emails and screenshots of comments that personally targeted the woman and her friends and family, all reportedly written by her ex under various names. The parish president was ordered to appear in court to address the contempt charge.

Many Louisiana spouses are stressed and angry during the divorce process. Unfortunately, extreme feelings sometimes lead to extreme actions. Restraining orders provide legal protection against harassment and physical abuse. Spouses fearful of violence are encouraged to seek additional assistance from outside the legal profession including family, law enforcement and abuse survivor support groups.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta's wife files for contempt order, their divorce official" Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, Jul. 09, 2014

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