A 47-year-old California woman said to be married to a big-shot Silicon Valley executive is facing a slew of charges after prosecutors say she lured 14- and 15-year-old high school students to booze-fueled parties where she encouraged and watched “sometimes non-consensual” sex acts.
The allegations against Shannon O’Connor, also known as Shannon Bruga, run the gamut from plying minors with alcohol to enabling sexual assault. Prosecutors in Santa Clara County say she left a trail of victims over a period of several months.
At “drunken and destructive house parties” throughout 2020 and early 2021, O’Connor allegedly “bought vodka and Fireball whiskey, provided condoms, and discouraged the teens from telling their parents about the parties or calling for help when one of them passed out in their own vomit,” according to a press release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
In one instance outlined by prosecutors, O’Connor is said to have “watched and laughed as a drunk teen sexually battered a young girl in bed.” In another case, prosecutors say she “brought one drunk teen into a bedroom at her home where an intoxicated 14-year-old girl was lying in the bed,” leading to the girl being assaulted. The victim is said to have confronted her about the alleged setup, asking: “Why did you leave me in there with him? Like why did you like do that? Like you knew what he was going to do me.”
O’Connor is said to have gone to great lengths to keep the depraved scheme a secret, often allegedly using Snapchat or text messages to convince teenagers to sneak out of their homes in the middle of the night to attend one of her “parties.” She also kept the gatherings under wraps from her husband, Robert Amaral, the chief revenue officer of the cybersecurity firm SlashNext, according to The Mercury News.
The California-based parties are said to have gone on from June 2020 to May 2021. They were only stopped after parents learned of a December 2020 incident that left a boy with a concussion, The Mercury News reports. In that instance, which was also cited by prosecutors, O’Connor allegedly drove her son and his friends to the Los Gatos High School parking lot, where she let at least one of them drunkenly drive her SUV while her son and another friend hung on to the back. One of the teens fell off and was left unconscious after slamming his head into the ground. Court documents say he later “spent the night vomiting, and almost drowned in the tub due to his intoxication.”
At least one mother of a student at Los Gatos High reportedly sounded the alarm about the drunken parties, but she said she was told that since it all took place off campus, it was out of school officials’ hands.
O’Connor was arrested in Eagle, Idaho, over the weekend, and booked into a local jail, where she faces extradition to California. Investigators said Tuesday evening that O’Connor is suspected of continuing to throw similar booze-fueled ragers at her Idaho home. Detectives allegedly found a dozen teens at her house when they arrived to arrest her on Saturday, NBC Bay Area reported.
She will face a lengthy prison sentence in connection with 39 criminal counts, including felony child abuse, sexual assault, and providing alcohol to minors.
“It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case,” Jeff Rosen, the Santa Clara County district attorney, said. “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.”
With the charges against her, the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District issued a statement vowing to investigate “any issues that arise on our campuses and work closely with law enforcement to support their investigation into matters that take place outside of school.”
There was no word from prosecutors on whether any of the teens could face charges in connection with the coerced sex acts.
“It’s just so terrible what she did to my daughter and these other children,” the mother of one of the girls allegedly victimized was quoted saying by the Mercury News. “My heart breaks for these kids. It’s been devastating. It’s a worst nightmare for a parent.”