BATON ROUGE, LA (March 28, 2024): SEXUAL TRAUMA AWARENESS AND RESPONSE® (STAR®) Center and the coroners of Livingston, Tangipahoa, and St. Helena Parishes filed a lawsuit today in the 22nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Tammany against Dr. Christopher Tape, the newly sworn-in Coroner for St. Tammany Parish. The suit asks a Judge to halt Dr. Tape’s attempt to unilaterally cancel the Sexual Assault Response Plan for the Louisiana Department of Health’s Region 9.

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The Sexual Assault Response Plan for Region 9 is developed annually in accordance with ACT 229, legislation unanimously approved by the Legislature in 2015. STAR, as well as other stakeholders in Region 9, including the St.Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, met on October 18, 2023, to recommend and approve a plan. As part of that plan, which is required by law, the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program committed to continue to serve as the official designated Forensic Medical Exam (FME) provider for the Region 9 Plan.

The Sexual Assault Response Plan is critical to coordinated and effective care in response to incidents of sexual assault. It establishes the expectations for the timely and compassionate provision of evidence collection, treatment, and support services for sexual assault survivors.

Dr. Tape has not provided any official notice to STAR or other stakeholders about his apparent decision. By prematurely attempting to cancel the plan, Dr. Tape jeopardizes the safety, well-being, and access to justice for survivors.

This lawsuit fulfills STAR’s responsibility to protect, advocate, and be a resource for survivors and ensures any modifications to the Sexual Assault Response Plan are made in accordance with ACT 229, prioritizing the needs and rights of survivors of sexual assault.

The abrupt cancellation of the Sexual Assault Response Plan sends a dangerous message that survivors’ needs and rights are not a priority. Dr. Tape’s actions perpetuate a culture of silence and further traumatize individuals who have already endured tremendous pain. Survivors of sexual assault deserve better.

In order to continue our efforts to protect sexual assault survivors and advocate for their rights, STAR is asking the advocates, friends, and the public in general to help defray our legal costs and expenses associated with this lawsuit. You can donate here. By contributing to our legal fund, you will directly support our mission to ensure the well-being and justice for survivors of sexual assault. We urge you, and the Southeastern Louisiana community, advocates, and friends, to stand with us in this crucial fight for the rights of sexual assault survivors. Your donation, no matter the size, will help our legal efforts and make a lasting impact on the lives of survivors. Together, we can create a society where sexual violence is not tolerated, survivors are supported, and justice is served.

Interested parties and members of the press should direct inquiries to Morgan Lamandre at (225) 615-7093 ext 104 or


STAR is a local, 501(c)(3) non-profit with a vision of building a healthy community free from oppression and sexual violence. STAR’s mission is to support survivors of sexual trauma, improve systems response, and create social change to end sexual violence. STAR has offices in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans and provides services to survivors in Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Grant, Iberville, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Tammany, Vernon, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parishes. For more information, please visit