33-year Veteran Louisiana Prosecutor Gets Three Years for Soliciting Sex from Women, Labeled a ‘Sexual Predator’

Recently, 73-year-old Harry Morel Jr., a 33-year veteran prosecutor in St. Charles Parish in justiceLouisiana, was sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly trading sex for leniency in cases he prosecuted.  Federal authorities investigated the case for three years before Morel eventually pleaded guilty in April of this year.

Authorities claim Morel is a ‘sexual predator’ who engaged in sexual misconduct for about 20 years with at least 20 difference women, according to the Times-Picayune.  News reports reveal that one woman who was facing a DUI charge helped build a case against Morel, an extremely popular man who had been elected as St. Charles Parish’s district attorney for more than 30 years.  Even though Morel is accused of giving women charged with crimes favorable treatment in exchange for sex, he hasn’t been charged with any sex crimes, and has been disbarred as he is scheduled to begin serving his prison sentence on September 26.

The woman who helped state and federal authorities clinch their case against Morel was Danielle Keim, a young woman who is said to have had drug addiction issues and who passed away in 2013.  As FBI agents watched and recorded Morel as he arrived at Keim’s apartment with two bottles of wine after she had been charged with drunken driving, the agency finally secured the evidence they needed to build their case.  Authorities claim that after arriving at Keim’s apartment and discussing her DUI case, Morel began to grope his client.

Keim participated with the FBI undercover in efforts to expose the fact he had allegedly been trading sex with defendants or their relatives for leniency.  Keim, who was 27 years old and the mother of a young son, was reportedly a drug addict, much like the majority of women Morel is accused of preying upon over his three-decade career as prosecutor.  While Keim would have been a key witness for the government, she died shortly after obtaining the evidence authorities needed to prosecute Morel. He was sentenced for obstructing justice, according to the Chicago Tribune, and also fined $20,000 in addition to his three-year prison sentence.

Investigations into Morel’s conduct began in April of 2010, when a woman who was accused of driving while intoxicated called 911 and claimed Morel sexually assaulted her in her home.  While numerous allegations have been leveled against Morel, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said that Morel had not been charged with a sex crime due to the fact that on some of the alleged crimes, time limits had passed.  Additionally, the personal histories of many of the women, who were reportedly drug addicts, resulted in substantial issues with evidence and whether jurors would believe their stories.

Although Keim had been a key witness who had been wired by agents for video which revealed him arriving at her home with two bottles of wine in tow before talking about her case and beginning to grope her, she was now dead.  Keim reportedly died less than 24 hours following the report in The Times-Picayune regarding the investigation of Morel by the FBI.  In his guilty plea, Morel admitted to instructing her to destroy photographic evidence of their meetings.

For criminal defense attorneys who defend clients accused of sex crimes, it’s often amazing that those in high positions can get away with far more than the “average citizen.”  In Michigan, defendants often face years or even life in prison depending on the specific crime they are accused of, not to mention in some instances the rest of their lives as registered sex offenders.  Unfortunately, many who are found guilty are innocent.  Is this story and example of how justice is served in our country?