February 19, 2015

A woman who told police she was assaulted by New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette has filed a lawsuit accusing him of subjecting her to false imprisonment, human trafficking, rape and other types of physical and mental abuse. The lawsuit also contains allegations against several other Saints players, but does not name them.

Hours after that was filed in civil district court in Jefferson Parish, a city attorney in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner dismissed a related misdemeanor battery case that arose from a disturbance last month at the player's home.

Kenner City Attorney Michael Powers said his assistant, Howat Peters, conducted interviews Thursday with five people who were in Galette's home when the player was arrested on Jan. 5, and decided there was not enough evidence to pursue the case.

''This confirms what we have said from the beginning about Junior Galette's actions and character,'' said Galette's lawyer, Ralph Whalen.

Joe Raspanti, the attorney for the woman who sued Galette, said the decision by the Kenner City Attorney ''will have no effect whatsoever'' on his client's pursuit of damages in civil court, but he expressed surprised at the way prosecutors handled the case.

''The dismissal of charges by the Kenner city attorney's office before arraignment is about as common as Halley's Comet. It's interesting this action was taken without Kenner officials interviewing my client subsequent to the date she was beaten by Mr. Galette. They seem to have relied on statements made by Mr. Galette's cohorts who were at his home the day of the arrest.''

Power said no one outside his office intervened and that he endorsed the decision to dismiss by Peters, a ''career prosecutor.''

Whalen, meanwhile, asserted that the woman's lawsuit ''is filled with lies'' and was filed only after Galette rejected a $2 million ''shakedown.''

A Saints spokesman said the team has no comment on the matter.

According to a police report, officers responded to a disturbance call at Galette's home and found a woman outside with scratches on her face and her ear torn from where an earring had allegedly been ripped off during a fight. Galette was released on $600 bond the same day. Galette's cousin, Terrance Banks, also was arrested after authorities said he helped subdue the woman and carry her out of the home.

The day after the arrests, Whalen said in a statement that the woman's injuries were caused by Galette's dog, which became excited by the woman's yelling. Whalen also said several witnesses, including Galette's girlfriend, and a mobile phone video corroborate Galette's version of events.

The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit states that the dog only growled at, but never harmed the woman, and that Galette caused her injuries after he became angry over texts he found on her phone.

The lawsuit's allegations span two years during which the woman says she lived at Galette's home. It said Galette ''repeatedly and persistently engaged in a litany of abusive behavior,'' and that the woman was ''trapped in an abusive relationship with no apparent way out.''

It says the woman was ''forced to perform certain acts, which exposed her to sexual battery,'' and that they happened after she had been ''administered'' a liquid that caused her to lose consciousness.

The lawsuit also alleged that Galette prevented the woman from coming and going as she pleased by withholding money, denying access to transportation and checking her phone to make sure she was not contacting relatives.

The lawsuit states that six other Saints players - referred to only as players A, B, C, D, E, and F - either participated in or witnessed abusive and illegal behavior.

Galette, who last September signed a $41.5 million contract through 2019, had a team-high 10 sacks last season.

Now, however, his arrest could potentially bring discipline from the NFL under its recently revamped personal conduct policy. Galette could be suspended six games, depending on the results of an NFL investigation, even though the criminal case has been dismissed.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has said the league is looking into the matter.

Raspanti said no one from the NFL or the Saints has contacted him or his client.

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