Glover calls late daughter ‘hero’ who took on parish’s ‘most powerful man’
Still serving a three-year prison term after pleading guilty to obstructing an FBI investigation into allegedly trading sex for leniency, former St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry Morel Jr. now faces a civil lawsuit by the mother of a key witness in the case against him.
The racketeering lawsuit was filed April 10 in the 29th Judicial District Court by attorneys representing Tammy Glover, the mother of the late Danelle Keim, whose federal undercover work substantially contributed to the case against Morel. Authorities credited Keim for providing the evidence against the 74-year-old that proved instrumental in securing his guilty plea.
The lawsuit says Glover hopes taking legal action will “put an end to the fear that many women and their families have been living with for decades because of (Morel’s) sexual abuse.”
A resident of St. Charles Parish, Glover is seeking damages for injuries allegedly caused by Morel and John L. Landry III, a Luling businessman, on behalf of Keim and her son identified as T.M.
In the lawsuit, Glover describes her daughter as “the hero of St. Charles Parish” for standing up to “the most powerful man” in the parish. She contends, as did the FBI investigation, that Morel sexually assaulted the 24-year-old until her death from a drug overdose.
On Sept. 26, Morel reported to Seagoville Federal Correctional Institution in Dallas, Texas, after he pleaded guilty to the obstruction of justice charge. Landry, accused of falsifying documents for Morel’s alleged victims, is serving in the parish’s pre-trial intervention program that included him resigning as head of the St. Charles Parish Hospital Board.
According to Glover’s lawsuit, Morel abused his power as DA and later as assistant DA, to abuse her daughter, whom he knew suffered from a drug addiction.
“From the first time Morel sexually assaulted Keim on April 16, 2010 until her death on Feb. 9, 2013, Morel continued to demand sexual favors from Keim,” according to the lawsuit. “He continued to demand a sexual relationship with her, and he sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, the last known incident occurring on Oct. 11, 2012.”
In an Aug. 18, 2016 statement to the media, Glover publicly stated, “Harry Morel had everything to do with her death.”
While investigating Keim’s death, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office discovered a note in her handwriting saying, “I worked with the FBI because of what he did to me.”
Although Keim emerged as a key figure in the Morel case, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, who initiated the 2009 federal investigation into the former DA, emphasized at least 20 women also testified against Morel, lending to him being labeled “a sexual predator.”
Ralph Capitelli, Morel’s attorney in the obstruction of justice case, accused prosecutors of orchestrating a smear campaign to influence sentencing.
Capitelli is not representing Morel in the civil case.The lawsuit also outlines the FBI’s investigation that involved more than 100 witnesses and 39 polygraph examinations.
“Five women admitted to oral sexual contact with Morel (one with an element of force); eight women admitted to other sexual physical contact with Morel; nine admitted that Morel solicited sex from them, and all of these women reported that Morel’s sexual solicitations were made in connection with his position as a public official and all of these women were seeking help with criminal charges in St. Charles Parish,” also according to the lawsuit.
Tregg Connell Wilson, one of Glover’s attorneys, invited all the alleged victims to come forward and “talk about what happened.”
When questions arose over why Morel was not facing sex charges, prosecutors say they were stymied by statute of limitations on the crimes, evidence issues and difficult witnesses.
The U.S. Department of Justice had also approved RICO charges against Morel for at least 30 racketeering acts (solicitations of sexual bribes in violation of state law and federal obstruction of justice acts), but he was not prosecuted under RICO, according to the lawsuit.
Nearly four years after Keim’s death, FBI video tapes were released showing Morel sexually assaulting her.
“Take your [clothes] off and I can please you. You have no idea what I can do,” Keim said Morel told her just before she claims he sexually assaulted her in 2010.
After Morel pleaded guilty to the felony charge, the Sheriff’s Office released Keim’s 911 call recording from 2010 in which she states of Morel: “He grabbed me. He kissed me. He touched me in my private areas. He touched me in my ass. He wanted me to take off my clothes. He wanted me to take my pants off so he can please me.”
At a April 20, 2016 press conference, then U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite praised Keim’s courage in aiding the FBI investigation that further resulted in recorded conversations in which Morel pressed Keim to destroy a photo memory card with photographs showing both their vehicles at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse and Satellite Office at night, which resulted in the obstruction charge against him.
Polite said he “freely admitted that he is guilty of obstruction of justice” in harassing Keim in an attempt to “get rid of” and “destroy” evidence she had against Morel.
Convinced there would be a federal Grand Jury investigation, Morel asked “her to conceal information that would have likely led to her being a witness before that body.”
In the lawsuit, Glover also maintains her daughter lived in fear of Morel.
“She was fearful,” her mother states in the lawsuit. “She didn’t want to be around people. She was scared. And I was scared … for her life.”
Glover further states in the lawsuit that “Keim even moved away from St. Charles Parish to protect herself from Morel because she feared that he would have her killed.”
She maintains the same is true of Morel’s other alleged victims, adding, “If he would have gotten what he deserved, maybe they would have come forward.”