The first complaint about Shannon O’Connor to Los Gatos High School came from a parent on December 14, 2020, according to internal school emails obtained exclusively by the NBC Bay Area investigation unit.
The mother told then interim manager Paul Robinson, “Shannon Bruga [O’Connor] buys alcohol for teens ”and“ my daughter… overdosed on edibles ”. Robinson responded the same day, writing: “We will follow up and inform [the police]. “
O’Connor is currently in custody and faces 39 felony and misdemeanor counts, including child endangerment and sexual assault. She is accused of hosting alcohol-fueled sex parties for South Bay high school students and at least one middle school student between 2020 and 2021. These internal emails offer a first public look at some of the initial allegations against her.
Two months after the December 2020 complaint, on February 17, another parent sent a deputy principal at Los Gatos High School a detailed, multi-page email saying she had just filed a police report. The parent alleged O’Connor’s “criminal contact” with his child and “at least five other 14-year-old girls” as well as at least one student at Fisher Middle School.
The parent said O’Connor “cared for… befriended and influenced these girls; by procuring them for his son and his friends (mostly football players from Los Gatos High School).
Shortly after, Principal Robinson changed a student’s schedule so that she could avoid two male students. Robinson emailed staff, “It’s another one of those extracurricular things that everyone expects us to be disciplined about.” Robinson emailed a Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police officer around this time saying: [the police department] to manage… it got out of hand.
“I think the school officials are absolutely correct that we referred this to the police because it is a police matter; it was happening outside the school’s control, ”said Brett Sokolow, president of ANTIXIA, the association of Title IX administrators. Title IX is a law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded schools.
“Could the school have done more? When these things explode, they’re always more important in retrospect than they seem to be back then, ”he said.
It was bigger than it looked, says the parent who initiated the February 2021 complaint. On March 18, this parent told Los Gatos High School that O’Connor had cleared an underage teenager. to drive his SUV in the parking lot of the school. A boy is said to have fallen from the car, hit his head and vomited for days with a concussion.
Manager Robinson responded to the staff “[Police] are already involved in the complaint … their detectives have the case. At this point, Robinson’s own chief of student support services seemed to correct him by saying, “No. This is our own internal process regarding allegations of Code of Conduct violations. “
In a statement to NBC Bay Area Thursday, LGSUHSD Superintendent Mike Grove wrote: “When informed of the unconfirmed allegations, the district notified local law enforcement as they both l authority and expertise to determine whether crimes had been committed. While I can understand the community’s frustration, it is important for the community to know that by contacting law enforcement the district has demonstrated that it understands that the allegations require immediate elevation. The Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District will never hesitate to report issues to our local police departments in an effort to protect our students. “
Robinson is no longer acting principal of Los Gatos High School. In July, Kevin Buchanan became director. When Shannon O’Connor was arrested last October, Buchanan replied to a questioning parent, “I was not aware of the whole situation until today.
O’Connor nor her lawyer have responded to attempts by NBC Bay Area to reach her. The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department referred the questions from our station to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. In a statement, a public information official from the prosecutor’s office said it took officers the summer and fall to gather evidence so they could prove the case in court beyond of any reasonable doubt.
About six months passed between a parent’s first complaint and O’Connor’s arrest in Idaho, where authorities say they found her with younger children.
Candice Nguyen is an investigative journalist. To reach her about this story or another, email [email protected]