A California mother is facing dozens of criminal charges, including counts of felony child abuse and sexual assault, after being accused of throwing wild, drunken parties for a group of minors that included her teenage son that led to non-consensual sexual encounters, according to charges filed by prosecutors this week.
Shannon O’Connor, 47, has been charged with 39 criminal counts, including felony child abuse, sexual assault, and providing alcohol to minors while hosting the parties at her home in Los Gatos and at a rental property; the incidents occurred amid the COVID-19 pandemic from June 2020 through May 3, according to the statement of facts filed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. The teens “would vomit, be unable to stand, and fall unconscious,” according to a statement released Tuesday, as O’Connor allegedly watched on and encouraged the drunken debauchery.
At the parties, O’Connor would provide copious amounts of alcohol to the group of teenagers, which included boys and girls aged 14 to 16, prosecutors said. According to the criminal complaint filed with the Santa Clara County Superior Court, O’Connor then attempted to keep the crimes secret and even threatened to spread rumors about one of the teenage girls to coerce her into admitting that she was informing on her.
“It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “As a parent, I’m shocked. As the DA, I’m determined to hold those adults who endanger children fully accountable to the law and our community.”
O’Connor would encourage the teens into sex acts at the alcohol-fueled parties, and would sometimes watch them, prosecutors alleged. At times she “would Snapchat or text teens to leave their homes in the middle of the night and drink at her home,” the DA alleged.
She also discouraged the teens from telling their parents about what was going on at her home and keeping the gatherings secret from their peers, telling the teenagers that she could go to jail if anyone were to discover what was happening, prosecutors said.
According to the DA, during one of the parties, O’Connor handed one of her son’s friends a condom and pushed the underage teenager into a room with a minor, who was intoxicated. Then, during a New Year’s Eve party at her home with about five of the teens, she allegedly watched and laughed while a drunk teen sexually battered a young girl in bed, according to the DA’s statement.
In a separate instance, O’Connor allegedly brought one of the drunk teenagers into a bedroom at her home, where a drunken 14-year-old girl was in the bed. The teenage girl was assaulted, according to the district attorney’s office.
“Why did you leave me in there with him? Like, why did you, like, do that?” the girl said to the defendant afterward, according to the DA. “Like, you knew, like, what he was going to do me.”
O’Connor, who is also known as Shannon Bruga, now lives in Idaho and is awaiting extradition to California for an arraignment, the DA’s office said. She is also facing separate felony fraud charges for making over $120,000 in unauthorized charges on a corporate card from a previous job, the office said.
It was not immediately clear if O’Connor has legal representation to speak on her behalf.