Bay Area woman charged with throwing secret teen parties with alcohol, sex

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Los Gatos woman charged with throwing drunken sex parties for teens
The Santa Clara District Attorney's Office says a Los Gatos woman is facing charges after throwing drunken parties for teenagers.

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office uncovered details of secret teen parties, filled with alcohol and sex. The shocking allegations are tied to a Los Gatos mother, accused of hosting a number of parties in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz and Lake Tahoe for her son and his friends.

Shannon O'Connor, 47, also known as Shannon Bruga, is accused of throwing drunken parties where she encouraged young teens to participate in sex acts, sometimes non-consensual and sometimes while she watched.

The teens, who were mostly 14 and 15-year-olds, included her own son.

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According to the DA's Office, O'Connor would use Snapchat or text to invite them to her home. She is said to have warned the teens to keep silent or she could go to jail.

Court documents outline 39 criminal counts O'Connor now faces, from felony child endangerment and sexual assault, to multiple misdemeanor charges of child molestation and providing alcohol to minors.

Criminal attorney and former prosecutor, Steven Clark weighed in.

"This goes way beyond just having a party breakout at your home," he told ABC7 News. "This is someone who appears to have premeditated these events for some particular purpose."

"I think the DA's office is just at the tip of the iceberg with these charges," he added.

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According to investigators, the parties spanned from June 2020 to May 2021, and often involved O'Connor pushing the teens to drink until they became sick or blacked out.

The DA's Office said some of the assaults against the young victims happened while they were drunk.

Our media partners at the Mercury News interviewed a mother of one of the girls- who isn't being identified because her daughter was a victim of an alleged crime.

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According to the Mercury News, the mother said, "It's just so terrible what she did to my daughter and these other children."

"My heart breaks for these kids. It's been devastating. It's a worst nightmare for a parent," she continued.

The Mercury News also learned that O'Connor's son was on Los Gatos High School's freshman football team at the time.

She told them the boys involved were teammates. The outlet reports, "The mother said she raised concerns about the drinking with coaches and school officials at the beginning of the year but that she was told that since it was off campus and there was nothing they could do."

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"It is going to be a very challenging case," Clark continued. "Because the minors that are involved may have also engaged in criminal behavior."

Documents show teens also told authorities that drinking led to heavy vomiting, a broken finger, and a girl reporting she almost drowned in a hot tub.

In a release, DA Jeff Rosen said, "It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case."

In another case, the DA's Office said O'Connor let a teen drive her SUV in the Los Gatos High parking lot while two other teens held on to the back. One fell off and was knocked unconscious.

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The Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District declined to comment on the case, but said in a statement that it works closely with law enforcement to support investigations into matters that take place outside of school.

The district added, "... Parents and families also play a crucial role in setting clear expectations for the behavior of our young people and in monitoring their activities."

Clark told ABC7 News, "I think the first order of business for the defense is to try to find out what was going on in her head at the time. What was she suffering from? Some type of mental health issue or other challenge that caused her to act in this way and encourage this type of behavior? There's something behind this curtain that needs to be evaluated in all likelihood by a trained psychologist."

O'Connor is currently awaiting extradition from Idaho.