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Recall petition filed to remove St. Tammany Parish coroner accused of sexual assault

2 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2024 Apr 16, 2024 April 16, 2024 1:51 PM April 16, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — A petition to remove St. Tammany Parish's coroner was filed Tuesday after allegations that he sexually assault a 7-year-old girl in New Mexico in 2002 were brought to light.

The recall petition to remove Christopher Tape was filed with the Secretary of State's Office by organizers Cheryl Martinez and Jean Cefalu. Under state law, the petition to hold a recall election for Tape requires valid signatures from 20 percent of voters in St. Tammany Parish. As of Tuesday, the Secretary of State's Office showed there were 188,888 voters in St. Tammany; 20 percent of that total is 37,778.

The organizers, the first to sign the petition outside the Secretary of State's Office, have six months to collect signatures.

Tape was elected in November after running unopposed to become St. Tammany's first new coroner in a decade. In February, WWL reported that Tape had faced six counts of sexual assault in New Mexico. An indictment was thrown out before trial when a court said prosecutors had taken too long to charge him.

Tape also came under fire for his call to terminate the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program when he assumed office. A group of Louisiana state legislators, the Northshore Delegation, called for his resignation in March, WBRZ reported.

Tape previously said he would not resign, maintaining his innocence.

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