NEW ORLEANS (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Promoter Stephen Rehage, one of the founders of the Voodoo festival and a producer of the Essence Festival, was taken into custody by the New Orleans Parish Sheriff's Department on Friday morning and charged with one count of simple rape. As of 11 a.m. Rehage had been released on a $10,000 bond.
The Times-Picayune reports that the charge stems from a June 21st incident where investigators allege that Rehage met the victim for dinner at a restaurant in Lakeview. According to court documents, the woman claims that she had several drinks during the encounter and passed out, awakening later, naked in a bed with Rehage allegedly on top of her, choking her. She claims she asked him to stop and then went outside, where she called several friends and family members on her cell phone, to report that she was unaware of her location and in danger. The woman claims Rehage suggested she come back inside and try to sleep. The charging document said that she complied and laid on a sofa while waiting for Rehage to fall asleep.
According to Fox affiliate WVUE, Rehage's defense attorney Pat Fanning told WVUE that text messages exchanged between Rehage and the alleged victim show a friendly relationship between the two and Fanning went on to suggest that the rape charge is an attempt by the alleged victim to conceal a relationship with her boyfriend.
Fanning went on to note that the case was being re-examined by the Sheriff's Department as a part of District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro focus on unsolved rape cases. – Ian Courtney