Federal lawsuit claims several law enforcement officials improperly investigating rape

Federal lawsuit claims several law enforcement officials improperly investigating rape

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A woman and her attorney filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Assistant Warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary, the 20th Judicial District Attorney, West Feliciana Parish and its sheriff, alleging they violated her civil rights by failing to properly investigate and prosecute the man accused of raping her.

The lawsuit names District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla, Sheriff Austin Daniel, Angola Assistant Warden Barrett Boeker, and West Feliciana Parish as defendants. The woman accused Boeker of raping and sexually assaulting her at his home on the prison grounds on two occasions in early December 2016.

Boeker was arrested for second-degree rape on Dec. 20, 2016. The lawsuit claims Boeker was "given preferential treatment by D'Aquilla" and "did not spend a single night in custody."

Boeker's bond was originally set at $200,000 and the lawsuit claims his attorney, who was a relative D'Aquilla, got it reduced by $77,000. The bond was paid largely by "an unknown source from Ascension Parish," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Boeker was not investigated by D'Aquilla or Daniel following his release from custody. It also claims the district attorney and sheriff refused to examine the accuser's rape kit and sexual assault examination.

Currently, the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office does not have policies requiring rape kits and sexual assault examinations to be reviewed or sent to the state crime lab for testing, according to the lawsuit.

D'Aquilla is accused in the lawsuit of failing to seek an indictment of Boeker by failing to speak with the accuser before the grand jury hearing. The district attorney also failed to present information from the rape kit, the accuser's testimony to the grand jury or the officers who investigated the case, the lawsuit says.

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The grand jury decided not to indict Boeker on the charge of second-degree rape in early March 2017. The lawsuit claims the rape kit was not examined until, at the earliest March 10, 2017, after the grand jury chose not to indict Boeker.

In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit seeks that the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office's amends it's policies on rape kits, and provides better training to its officers in investigating sexual assaults and that the case is tried by a jury.

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