Shannon O’Connor, two parents who first warned police and school officials about Los Gatos’ mother accused of teenage sex and drinking, told NBC Bay Area they had been rejected by school and police authorities, putting more children at risk.
O’Connor was charged in October with dozens of felonies, including endangering children and sexual violence, following allegations that she organized drunken sex parties for young teens where she encouraged and watched sexual acts among underage children.
But parents say police should have arrested O’Connor much sooner, and school officials have done little to independently investigate the allegations or alert the community to potentially dangerous parties. As NBC Bay Area first reported earlier this month, at least 10 months have passed between the first report to school and police about O’Connor and his possible arrest this month. fall.
“It makes me sick because they could have arrested him,” said the mother who first warned school officials and police about O’Connor in December 2020.
Parents say O’Connor tried to prepare their underage daughters for his son and friends, taking orders for the girls’ alcohol and secretly driving them to parties in the middle of the night while their parents slept.
Raj Mathai of NBC Bay Area spoke with investigative reporter Candice Nguyen about the latest Los Gatos mother’s case.
“The way she contacted these children and the lies she told the children to tell their parents, that was sophisticated,” said a second mother, who began sending lengthy reports to police and police. school officials in February.
“She’s going to pick up your children in the middle of the night. She tries to target divorced families, so there is a bit more confusion.
Both moms say their families are still grappling with the trauma from O’Connor.
“She hurt my daughter,” said one mother. “It will forever be a part of my daughter’s life. “
Neither O’Connor, her husband, nor her lawyers responded to NBC Bay Area interview requests.
The police report – along with school emails obtained by the NBC Bay Area instigating unit – show that in March, police and school officials were inundated with disturbing reports about O’Connor. By that time, more than 10 parents and students had already spoken to the police, according to the report.
“The first description of my daughter of the [O’Connor] the house was ‘it’s a brothel’, ”a relative told police on March 2.
“My daughter and I would be more than happy to talk to you. [Redacted] also created a spreadsheet of Ms. [O’Connor’s] questionable actions if you would like to see it.
But both parents who spoke to NBC Bay Area said the police investigation was marred by a lack of urgency.
A mother said Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police played down the charges against O’Connor, even suggesting that the district attorney’s office would not be interested in pursuing the case.
“[The detective] was like, ‘Oh, you know, once it even gets to the DA, even all that work you’ve done, it’s probably not going to go anywhere,’ ”the mom told NBC Bay Area.
According to the criminal complaint, O’Connor is accused of committing dozens of criminal acts between the first police report and her eventual arrest.
Parents also said school officials failed to take significant action regardless of passing complaints to the police, adding that they had a duty to notify parents of potentially dangerous parts, even if they could not directly name O’Connor in these warnings.
“They didn’t believe me, and they didn’t believe my daughter,” said the first parent. “It makes me sick because they could have stopped it.”
“We were taught to trust the police,” the mother said. “We are taught that our school cares about our children. And they failed us. Many children were injured in the process and they must be held accountable. “
The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department declined NBC Bay Area’s request for an on-camera interview, but said in a statement:
“The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department takes these cases seriously, immediately dedicates investigative resources and coordinates closely with the district attorney’s office to ensure collaboration throughout the investigation. The police department continues to work closely with the Santa Clara County Attorney’s Office on this investigation. “
Los Gatos and District High School officials also turned down NBC Bay Area interview requests, but school principal Kevin Buchanan said the school was keeping information about O’Connor confidential due to of the ongoing criminal investigation.
The emails show the former school principal notified police within five hours of receiving the first complaint about O’Connor.
“Last spring, after learning of the rumors of inappropriate behavior outside of school, Los Gatos High School immediately notified the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department (LGMSPD),” Buchanan wrote.
“In the spring of 2021, LGMSPD confirmed that they had opened a criminal investigation and child protection services and that the school had cooperated with all inquiries from investigators. Since the school had limited information regarding the alleged behavior and there was an active criminal investigation by law enforcement in which the school did not want to interfere, the information was withheld. confidential. When law enforcement verified the extent of the charges and the school learned the identity of the potential victims, the school contacted students and families to offer support. “
After O’Connor’s indictment, the district emailed parents and wrote a letter to city council urging it to strengthen its Social Hosts Ordinance, which holds hosts accountable for the consumption of alcohol in minors.
But moms say it was too little too late.
“They got a lot of information between February and June and the director and deputy directors and the sports department didn’t do anything,” one said. “I even reached out to the coaches to say, ‘Hey, can you talk to these kids? I am worried about them.
In addition to shedding new light on the timeline of parents’ complaints against O’Connor, the police report adds details of how the mother allegedly attacked local children and how those children were injured.
A girl told her parents that O’Connor had selected underage girls for the holidays. The girl reported that O’Connor said: “[one girl] can’t come because it doesn’t turn off, ”according to the police report.
Another report to police said a drunken teenager broke her hand at a party. In another case, a parent said he found a boy “standing in the dark in the streets without a shirt or shoes, wet by the pool” on a night when temperatures dropped below 50 degrees.
Parents also reported alleged online harassment and bullying behavior by O’Connor, claiming that O’Connor told a child on Snapchat, “I’m going to spread rumors about you!” on the mother’s fears that her behavior will be exposed.
O’Connor was scheduled to appear in court today, but the hearing has been postponed to March. She has a bail hearing scheduled for January.