(CN) – Former St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry Morel Jr. drove a young woman to her overdose death by extorting sexual favors from her in exchange for help with her legal problems, the woman’s mother claims in court.
Morel pleaded guilty on Aug. 17, 2016, to obstruction of justice during a sex investigation, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to three years in prison.
Prosecutors argued Morel demanded sexual favors from nearly two dozen women in exchange for “reducing or dismissing their criminal charges and helping them with their legal problems.”
In a complaint filed Monday in St. Charles District Court, Tammy Glover, the mother of alleged Morel victim Danelle Keim McGovern, claims her daughter met the district attorney after she was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Glover says Morel knew her daughter suffered from drug addiction, and showed up at her home under the pretext of helping her with the DWI charge.
Glover says Morel then proceeded to sexually assault her daughter. Keim reported the assault to the St. Charles Parish sheriff’s office, who referred the case to the FBI.
In the meantime, Morel continued to contact Keim and extort sexual favors from her by threatening her with bodily harm and threatening to have her child taken away.
As recounted in the complaint, the sexual extortion continued for several months, and at one point, Keim had her boyfriend photograph hers and Morel’s cars in the parking lot.
A video card containing those photos and video became the focus of Keim and Morel’s last meetings, as he tried to prevent it falling in the hands of investigators.
By that time, Morel knew he was being investigated by the FBI, and he instructed Keim to destroy a memory card containing photographic evidence of two of their liaisons.
Glover says he also used his daughter Michele’s position as a district judge to try to conceal evidence of his improper interactions with Keim.
In the end, the young woman agreed to help the FBI with its investigation, but that proved to be her undoing, the complaint says.
On February 8, 2013, NOLA.com reported Morel offered the boyfriend a “sweetheart plea deal” for multiple burglary charges if Keim continued to provide him with sexual favors. The article did not mention Keim by name, but she found herself being contacted by reporters, who she promptly hung up on.
She was found dead in her apartment then next day and it was later determined she’d taken a fatal overdose of methylone.
The complaint also targets businessman John Landry III, who chaired a public hospital board and served as an officer in the local Lions Club.
According to the complaint, Landry falsified community service letters at Morel’s request for years, including those related to Glover’s daughter.
“In return, Morel ‘took care of’ Landry’s customers’ traffic tickets for 15 years,” Glover says.
“The only reason I did what I did was because Harry Morel asked me to and he was the District Attorney of St. Charles Parish,” Landry told Courthouse News, referring to the allegedly fabricated community service letters. “I was under the assumption she was doing community service. He [Morel] pretty much lied to me.”
Glover seeks compensatory, punitive and treble damages on claims of fraud, solicitation and racketeering.
She is represented by Tregg Wilson of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Representatives of the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.