Schaeffer may seek new trial location

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Staff Reporter

EDGARD – The attorney for a former lieutenant of the St. John Sheriff’s Office charged with rape and attempted sexual battery is considering a request to change the location of the trial.

Citing the rigorous local publicity surrounding the case against Allan Wayne Schaeffer, attorney Paul C. Fleming Jr. was uncertain about whether an impartial jury could be seated in St. John Parish. Schaeffer was a 16-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office before being indicted in January on charges of aggravated rape, second-degree battery, and attempted sexual battery.

Monday’s court appearance was the first for Fleming as Schaeffer’s attorney. A court appointed attorney from the public defender’s office had previously represented Schaeffer. He was scheduled to show Monday whether Schaeffer qualified to continue using appointed representation, but the former St. John officer decided instead to retain Fleming.

During the court appearance, Judge Mary Hotard Becnel decided to grant a joint motion filed by the defense and the prosecution for a continuance in the trial. The date had previously been set for May 20, but Becnel moved it to August 19.

Becnel also postponed a ruling on whether to require Schaeffer to pay for part of the $400-a-month in fees surrounding his electronic monitoring. Fleming told the court that Schaeffer has a job pending in Destrehan.

Schaeffer was also granted permission to travel between the parishes of St. John, St. Charles, Jefferson and St. James, and had his curfew extended from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Schaeffer was fired from the Sheriff’s Office in October after a State Police investigation into complaints filed by a former girlfriend. The results of the investigation had been turned over to the St. John District Attorney’s Office, but District Attorney John Crum recused his office from the investigation because of a conflict of interest. The state attorney general’s office has since taken over the case.

Schaeffer is charged with one count of aggravated rape, stemming from a 2005 incident, one count of second-degree battery, from a May 2005 incident, and one count of attempted sexual battery, stemming from a February 2007 incident. He was arrested January 14 after the indictment, and released from the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace after posting 10 percent of his $335,000 bond.

Schaeffer has pleaded innocent to all charges. If convicted, he faces life in prison on the aggravated rape charge, and a maximum of five years on the charges of second-degree battery and attempted sexual battery.