Shelley Dufresne and Rachel Respess
Okay, I see that some of my previous posts on this subject have been getting new hits in the past week. So much so that I have decided to give this topic, which I have been covering since October 2014, it’s own special category on this blog (moving it from Crime And Punishment), so that it will be easier to look up.
For you new readers who don’t feel like going through the previous posts, here is a recap:
Shelley Dufresne, a married 32-year old woman with three young children, and Rachel Respess, a single 24 year old woman, were both teachers (and former students) at Destrehan High School in the small town of Destrehan, Louisiana. Sometime in August 2014 Shelley Dufresne began having an affair with a 16 year old male student, taking him to her home and having sex with him “multiple times.” Then on September 12, 2014, Defresne and the boy went to Rachel Respess’ apartment after a school football game, where all three of them allegedly proceeded to have sex together “until the early hours” of September 13, 2014. Dufresne also continued having sex with the boy by herself at her home, with the last incident taking place on September 27th, 2014. The boy had proceeded to brag to other students that he was having sex with the teachers, which is what lead to an investigation, which uncovered the existence of photographic and video-taped evidence on a smartphone, and both women were arrested on September 30th, 2014. Since Dufresne’s home is in a different county than Respess’ apartment, Dufresne was arrested separately in one county for having sex with the boy in her home, while she and Respess were arrested together in the other county for having sex with the boy at Respess’ apartment.
It should be noted that at the time of the arrest, the boy (who has remained unidentified by most media outlets, although his name was reportedly revealed by some, but I haven’t seen it nor looked for it) had turned 17, which is the Age of Consent in Louisiana.
On April 9th, 2015, Shelley Dufresne accepted a plea deal for the charge of “obscenity”, admitting to having “consensual sexual intercourse with a juvenile” at her home. The deal said she “must spend 90 days at an inpatient mental health facility, serve three years of active probation and pay a $1,000 fine.” She also had to give up her teaching license, but she would not have to serve any jail time nor register as a sex offender. Some folks felt that this punishment was too lenient. And this was not helped when, soon after, Dufresne posted a celebratory picture of herself on Instagram.
That is where we left off, as far as this blog is concerned. Since then, here is what has happened: On December 14, 2015 (yes, over a year since their initial arrest, you think it would take that long to charge adult men for this crime?) the women were formally charged for the alleged threesome. Dufresne was charged with “two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.” Surprisingly, Respess was only charged with “failing to report the commission of a felony.” So, apparently, while they acknowledge that both women were with the boy at Respess’ apartment at the night in question, prosecutors don’t believe that they can prove that Respess participated in the sex with Dufresne and the boy, just that she knew it was happening. This is despite that, as reported in the initial arrest it was reported that “Respess told police she was aware that Dufresne was bringing the boy to her apartment for three-way sex. A police report says that while Respess was having intercourse with the boy, Dufresne ‘began intimately kissing (Respess) in an attempt to arouse all parties involved, all who were complete(ly) disrobed.’” But this is why I am obligated to write ALLEGEDLY when talking about the threesome.
The charges against Dufresne each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine. The charge against Respess carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $500 fine. Both women have plead Not Guilty to their charges and, as of today, despite the case being assigned to Judge Danyelle Taylor of 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, Louisiana, no official trial date has been set.
And, now for the latest news. The parents of the boy, or I should say the young man as he should be 18 by now, who previously, expressed his regret at getting the women in trouble, have now filed a civil suit. Because that’s what you do in America. And this suit reveals all sorts of (alleged) salacious details…
Shelley Dufresne moved in fast. From the first day of the 2014-15 academic year, she targeted a 16-year-old boy in her English class, flirting with him every day. When he got sick and had to stay home, she contacted him on social media, “ostensibly to determine if he was feeling better” but in reality to establish a “close personal and emotional relationship with her student.” Soon, she was sleeping with the student, more than 40 times in 36 days.
Those are among the new allegations in a previously unreported lawsuit filed by the student and his parents against Dufresne, fellow teacher Rachel Respess and the St. Charles Parish public school system. Filed Aug. 11 and amended Feb. 25, the suit is pending in 29th Judicial District Court.
Only two or three weeks into the term, the suit says, Dufresne kissed the student in her classroom during school hours. They began having sex Aug. 22, 2014, continuing through Sept. 27, more than 40 times in all. Respess had learned of the improper relationship but did not report it to the authorities or try to protect the victim, the suit says. Instead, she offered up her Kenner apartment for sex after a football game, eventually joining in the act, according to the suit.
This other article adds more details:
The civil suit says Dufresne made disparaging comments about the boy on social media after the relationship became public and showed no remorse for conduct that “demonstrated a wanton and reckless disregard” for the boy’s mental and emotional safety. The suit claims this and unspecified prior incidents show the School Board didn’t adequately screen, train and supervise Dufresne and Respess. It says the board failed to enact and enforce policies to protect students and didn’t train teachers to recognize and report inappropriate behavior between teachers and students.
The suit claims the boy and his parents suffered mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation and damage to their reputation and family relationships. It says the boy’s ability to maintain healthy relationships was damaged, the parents lost wages and career opportunities, and both incurred costs related to counseling and treatment.
Ooohkaaay, whatever. Look, I’ve said from the very beginning, not only with this case but with other cases involving female pedophiles that I’ve written about her, including Molly Shattuck, and Rachel Lynn Lehnardt, and just earlier today with Kelsey McCarter, that they should be taken as seriously as when adult men have sex with underage girls whether it’s “consensual” or not. They should be punished. But this suit just feels like a blatant money-grab, pure opportunism. The boy’s “ability to maintain healthy relationships” was damaged? He’s just barely 18, how the heck would they even be able to judge that? How many 18 year old of any gender even know anything about maintaining a healthy relationship? They need to join me on the Reddit Dating Advice forum, where I try my best to help young folks with good advice, but it’s the kids in that age-range, the 18-22 year olds, who are the dumbest and most stubborn ones. They think they know everything. They’re the ones I’ve talked about before who claim they want advice, but really just want you to tell them what they want to hear.
So this suit is frivolous, and just likely to hurt innocent local taxpayers. I think Dufresne and Respess should get some jail time, but I hope this civil suit gets thrown out.
Just my opinion.