HAHNVILLE — Harry Morel, the former St. Charles Parish district attorney, is being sued by the mother of one of his alleged sexual extortion victims.
Morel was investigated by the FBI for receiving sexual favors from women in exchange for a lighter punishment from his office. The 74-year-old has been accused of soliciting sex from at least 20 women during his 33 years as a D.A., according to the Daily Mail.
Morel is now serving three years in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing the investigation.
One of the women Morel allegedly attempted to extort sex from, Danielle Keim, called 911 to report that Morel had been sexually inappropriate with her at her home in 2010 after a drunk driving arrest.
Keim's mother, Tammy Glover, filed a state racketeering lawsuit in Baton Rouge against the former D.A. The suit, filed on April 10, is her attempt to "put an end to the fear that many women and their families have been living with for decades because of [Morel's] sexual abuse."
Keim died of a drug overdose in 2013. Before her death, she cooperated with the FBI in an attempt to catch Morel making sexual advances. Agents captured her undercover work on camera in July 2012 in which she met with Morel to discuss her case, according to the lawsuit. Morel had bought two bottles of wine and groped her.
Despite the many accusations made against him, Morel was never charged with any sex crime. According to prosecutors, the reasons were due to the statute of limitations (SOL), issues with sufficient evidence and difficulty with the victims' cooperation. It is unlikely that the statute of limitations had ran out on all of the alleged victims' cases.
"For most [Louisiana] crimes the statute of limitations is between two to six years, but for many sex crimes the SOL is 30 years," Scott Sullivan, a law professor at Louisiana State University, told the Louisiana Record. "Among those with the 30 year SOL is the LA sexual battery law, and... that seems like a plausible charge [in this case]."
Morel is serving a sentence in relation to creating fake community service records on Keim and two other women who had drunk driving charges against them. John Joseph Landry III, a Lions Club president, was arrested in June 2016 for assisting Morel in the cover-up. He is also named as a defendant in the suit.
Although Morel escaped most charges that could have been brought against him, which could have included "third degree rape, sexual battery, bribery, extortion and racketeering," according to Ken Levy, an associate professor of law at LSU, Morel could still face additional punishment for his crimes if Glover's lawsuit is successful.
"If [Glover] wins, she will receive at least compensatory damages and very likely punitive damages, both of which would come out of Morel's and Landry's pockets," Levy told the Louisiana Record.
Morel is currently incarcerated in Seagoville, Texas and is expected to be released in August 2018.