Woman loses bid to sue prosecutor over sexual abuser’s light sentence
Jun 27, 2023, 4:38 PM | Updated: 5:14 pm
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana woman who watched a man who coerced her into a sex act when she was 16 walk free in a plea deal has lost a legal battle to sue the prosecutor in the case.
Louisiana’s Supreme Court had ruled earlier this year that the assistant district attorney in the case was immune from civil suits under state court doctrine for actions he took in the course of his job. The high court refused to reconsider the case Tuesday, ending the legal battle by victim Gabrielle Jameson, now 20, and her family.
Jameson was 16 in 2019 when she says she was coerced by her then-boss, Jeremy Schake, then 23. Schake eventually pleaded guilty to the crime of “carnal knowledge of a juvenile.” He was given a 10-year suspended sentence and allowed to go free on probation.
Jameson has long insisted that she and her parents made clear to Assistant District Attorney Iain Dover in St. Tammany Parish that she wanted Schake to spend a full year in prison. Her attorney, Anthony Le Mon, has an email in which Dover indicated the judge knew of their wishes. But the judge in the case later said the victim’s wish was never communicated to him before he handed down the sentence.
Requests for comment from Dover and his boss, District Attorney Warren Montgomery, have been declined through Montgomery’s office in the past. The office did not immediately respond to a request Tuesday afternoon.
A state district judge and a state appeals court had said the Jameson lawsuit could go on. But the Supreme Court halted it in a 5-2 ruling in May.
“We do not condone improper conduct of a prosecutor, nor disregard the importance of crime victims’ rights,” Supreme Court Justice Jay McCallum wrote for the majority on May 5. But, he wrote, “a prosecutor’s alleged misconduct during plea bargaining and sentencing merit the protection of absolute immunity.”
The court did not comment Tuesday when it declined to rehear the case.
“My parents and I are emotionally devastated by the refusal of the Louisiana Supreme Court to re-consider its reversal of the two lower court rulings and the dismissal of our lawsuit against prosecutor Iain Dover,” Gabrielle Jameson said in an emailed statement.