The California mother who has been accused of hosting alcohol-fueled sex parties across two states for her 15-year-old son and his school friends was denied bail on Wednesday and was hit with 15 protective orders barring her from contacting the victims, including her own child.
Shannon O’Connor, 47, also known as Shannon Bruga, was extradited from Idaho to Santa Clara County, California, on Tuesday and appeared before a judge the following day.
O’Connor, a mother-of-two, allegedly organized at least a half-dozen large parties and a smattering of smaller gatherings at her home in Los Gatos, but also in Santa Cruz and Lake Tahoe, where prosecutors said she would ply 14- and 15-year-olds with vodka, hand out condoms, encourage minors to have sex, and even watch and laugh while the teenagers engaged in sex acts, some of which were said to be nonconsensual.
O’Connor was arraigned on Wednesday on 39 charges, including felony child endangerment, child molestation, sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and ordered jailed without bond pending her next court appearance scheduled for December 17.
Bail was denied Wednesday for Shannon O’Connor (pictured in court), a California mother accused of hosting alcohol-fueled parties for her teenage son and his friends where she encouraged them to drink and have sex with intoxicated girls
O’Connor’s defense lawyer, Sam Polverino (right), argued that the no-bail order has violated his client’s civil rights
Officials in Idaho, where O’Connor had recently moved with her children, stated that when deputies arrived to arrest her earlier this month on a fugitive warrant, they found a dozen teenagers at her home.
Judge Johnny Gogo ruled to deny bail after prosecutors said that they have ‘clear and convincing evidence that if the defendant were to be released to the public, there is likely going to be great bodily harm to the victims in this case and to members of the public,’ reported East Bay Times.
Deputy District Attorney Rebekah Wise also alleged that O’Connor, who had relocated with her sons to Star, Idaho, where she allegedly continued throwing boozy parties for minors, was a flight risk.
The judge told O’Connor’s defense attorney, Sam Polverino, that he could request a hearing to revisit the issue of his client’s bail eligibility in the future.
Polverino argued that the court has violated his client’s civil rights and denied her due process.
O’Connor was arraigned on 39 criminal counts for allegedly hosting alcohol and sex parties for her son and his teenage friends in her home at the time in Los Gatos, California (pictured)
After the arraignment, Polverino told reporters he was ‘saddened and shocked’ by the judge’s no-bail order.
‘Everyone is entitled to a fair hearing,’ he stated. ‘We were deprived of one today.’
Judge Gogo also issued protective orders for 15 underage victims, among them O’Connor’s elder son.
Family members of some of O’Connor’s teenage party guests who attended the arraignment applauded the decision to keep O’Connor locked up without bail.
O’Connor was extradited on Tuesday to California from Idaho, where she had moved recently with her two sons
‘We truly all feel she is a threat to the community: We experienced it, our children experienced it, and our community is not safe while she is out on the street,’ said one mother. ‘We are very grateful that the judge decided this today and didn’t prolong this.’
Silicon Valley mom Sherri Mullin, whose daughter attended two of O’Connor’s parties early on, told ABC 7 News that her ‘mom friend’ had turned out to be a ‘pure con artist’ who betrayed her trust.
‘She promised me that my kid was safe and she was going to be a responsible adult and a parent,’ Mullin said. ‘And she knew how I felt about that and she did the exact opposite.’
O’Connor is said to have kept the parties secret from her husband and other parents while 14- and 15-year-olds would get so drunk they ‘would vomit, be unable to stand and fall unconscious,’ prosecutors said.
O’Connor is married to Robert Amaral, chief revenue officer at SlashNext, an anti-fraud software company.
‘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 is accused of holding several parties for her son and friends during an eight-month period starting in 2020 to March of this year, pressuring those in attendance to keep quiet about the debauchery.
‘She stated if anyone was told she could go to jail,’ the statement of facts said.
In one case, she allegedly went to a bedroom and watched a drunk teenage boy get on top of and grope a girl who was a friend of O’Connor’s then-15-year-old son, according to court documents.
In October 2020, there was $9,000 worth of damages done at this house O’Connor rented for a birthday party in Santa Cruz
A 14-year-old also claimed that she was threatened with retaliation if she told anyone, which would entail rumors being spread about her.
At one party, O’Connor allegedly handed a boy a condom and pushed him into a room where a drunk 14-year-old girl was lying on the bed.
Frightened, the girl ran and locked herself in the bathroom, the statement said.
At another, O’Connor is said to have taken a boy to a room and left him with a girl who also was drunk.
Prosecutors say the girl was allegedly assaulted and that she later confronted O’Connor over leaving her while she was extremely drunk.
‘Like why did you like, do that?’ the girl allegedly said. ‘Like, you knew what he was going to do to me.’
In yet another incident, the mother is accused of seeing a boy punching and kicking an intoxicated girl but doing nothing to intervene.
In October 2020, there was $9,000 worth of damages at a house O’Connor rented for a birthday party in Santa Cruz; surveillance footage showed teens throwing up and stumbling around the property.
The owners of the rental property claimed that O’Connor lied about who would be staying at the home, saying there would be four adults; instead she was the only adult with a dozen teens, who were said to have had a food fight and carved their names into furniture.
One girl broke a finger and a boy got a concussion when some of the teens drove O’Connor’s car in a school parking lot on December 19, 2020, prosecutors said.
During the incident, two of the teenagers are said to have clung to the back of the SUV while an unlicensed driver sped around.
One of the boys holding onto the back fell and hit his head, prosecutors allege, blacking out for 20-30 seconds.
When deputies from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office arrived at O’Connor’s new home in Star to arrest her on October 9, they found 10 teenage boys and two girls – most of whom had spent the night there, according to officials.
Detectives contacted the parents of O’Connor’s underage guests and later released them.
Deputies declared Bruga’s two sons to be in imminent danger and placed them in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Investigators now suspect that O’Connor may have been hosting parties with local teenagers in Ada County over the last several months, the sheriff’s office said.
Ada County Sheriff’s detectives began investigating O’Connor over the summer after hearing from a local family, which originally connected with her over the internet and then met her in the Boise area this past spring when she started looking for a home in Idaho.
That family later found out about the alleged parties and sexual abuse investigation in California and tried to end their relationship with O’Connor.
‘They told detectives that’s when Bruga started harassing them,’ according to the sheriff’s office.
O’Connor also faces unrelated fraud charges of more than $120,000 in unauthorized charges on company credit cards while working as an administrative assistant at Aruba Networks.
Prosecutors said O’Connor used the cards to charge limousine rides, clothing purchases and alcohol deliveries to her home.