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California mom faces 39 criminal counts for throwing secret drinking parties for teens, 'facilitating and watching sex acts': prosecutors

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Ada County Sheriff's Office

A California mother is accused of hosting booze-filled parties for teens where she encouraged them to engage in sex acts. The 47-year-old woman is facing charges for hosting drunken parties for young teens, facilitating and watching sex acts of the minors, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said.

Shannon M. O'Connor, also known as Shannon Bruga, has been charged with 39 crimes, including 12 felony counts of child endangerment, misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor child molestation, and providing alcohol to minors.

O'Connor organized secret parties for teens, where she purchased "copious amounts of alcohol" for the teenagers and encouraged them to have sex, the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office alleged in court documents. The parties happened at O'Connor's $4.7 million home in Los Gatos, California, a rented beach house in Santa Cruz, and a cabin in Lake Tahoe, according to the Mercury News.

"O'Connor, 47, was apparently known as 'the cool mom' since the older son was in middle school and had raised eyebrows among some parents for her chumminess with her sons' friends," the outlet reported. "But her behavior ratcheted up last summer as her eldest was entering his freshman year in high school."

O'Connor reportedly hosted drunken parties for her 15-year-old son, and is said to have organized the teenage get-togethers via text messages and Snapchat. O'Connor reportedly helped teens sneak out of their homes in the middle of the night and provided transportation to the parties, prosecutors claim.

O'Connor allegedly instructed the teens not to tell their parents or her husband about the parties, which reportedly began in June 2020.

A 14-year-old boy became so intoxicated at a party in 2020 that he vomited on himself, prosecutors say. O'Connor allegedly dismissed a teen girl who asked if they should call 911, and then left the drunk kid with the girl.

At a New Year's Eve party, a 14-year-old girl told investigators that she drank so much alcohol that she felt like she was repeatedly "drowning" in a hot tub because she couldn't keep her head above water.

O'Connor is accused of supplying teen girls with alcohol and encouraging them to engage in sexual acts with the boys — including her own son. The mother allegedly told a 14-year-old girl that she should "hook up with everyone at the party."

"If the girls did not consent, the 47-year-old mom would allegedly pull them aside for 'a private conversation' until they each went into a room with a boy," Fox News reported.

At one of the parties, O'Connor handed a condom to an intoxicated boy and pushed him into a bedroom at her home where a drunken 14-year-old girl was laying on a bed, court documents state.

At one party, a teen girl was so drunk that she passed in and out of consciousness while in a bedroom. O'Connor escorted a teenage boy into the room and he allegedly sexually assaulted her as she was too intoxicated to resist and she was crying, the complaint stated.

"Why did you leave me in there with him?" the girl later asked O'Connor, the court documents say. "Like why did you like do that? Like you knew like what he was going to do to me."

O'Connor "just laughed," the complaint said.

The Washington Post reported on another sexual incident, "Shannon O'Connor was sitting near that 14-year-old in a hot tub when a drunk teenage boy touched the girl's genitals, prosecutors allege in court documents. Later, the same girl came out of the bathroom after a boy had followed her there. Crying, she told the woman 32 years her senior, 'He made me bleed.' O'Connor laughed at her, prosecutors say."

O'Connor is also accused of endangering children by allowing an unlicensed teenage boy to drive her SUV in the Los Gatos High School parking lot while two other teens held on to the back of the vehicle. One of the kids fell off, was knocked unconscious, and suffered a severe concussion, according to court papers.

At a Halloween party with about 20 teens, a 14-year-old girl broke her pinky finger, which required surgery.

Before the Halloween party, O'Connor called the Los Gatos Police Department to inform them that she was having a gathering. She told the police that her neighbors often complained to the authorities and that law enforcement should contact her if anyone reported a problem before sending out officers.

O'Connor believed a 14-year-old girl was going to expose the secret parties so the mother threatened to spread rumors about the girl and persuaded other teens to harass her, court documents say. "As a result, the records state, the girl 'suffered mental and emotional turmoil' in the form of panic attacks and had to sleep in her parents' bedroom," the Post reported.

O'Connor and her husband sold their home near the Silicon Valley and moved to Star, Idaho.

O'Connor was arrested at her Idaho home Saturday morning, where police found "10 underage boys and two girls at her home — most of whom spent the night there," according to a news release from the Ada County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities suspect that O'Connor hosted other parties with teenagers in Idaho over the last several months.

Deputies declared O'Connor's two teenage sons to be in imminent danger and placed them in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

O'Connor was arraigned Tuesday in Boise, Idaho.

"It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen wrote 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."

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