Judge cited prosecutors for not proving case
A judge on Wednesday (April 26) found former Destrehan High School teacher Shelley Dufresne not guilty of allegations she had sex with her 16-year-old student on two occasions in Jefferson Parish.
Judge Danyelle Taylor, of the 24th Judicial District Court, found Dufresne, 34, not guilty of two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, citing the lack of investigation and evidence, and considered the teen and main witness lacking credibility.
Taylor stated it was likely something had occurred, but maintained prosecutors did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dufresne was accused of having sex in Jefferson Parish with her then-16-year-old English student, but pleaded not guilty.
In St. Charles Parish, Dufresne pleaded guilty to having sexual relations with the same male student in 2014.
The St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office announced Dufresne plead guilty to one felony count of obscenity and admitted to engaging in a prohibited sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student.
Dufresne accused the student of bragging about those relations on social media and attempting to blackmail her in return for preferential treatment and better grades.
These accusations and others surfaced in Dufresne’s response to a civil suit filed by this same student and his parents against her, fellow former DHS teacher Rachel Respess and the St. Charles Parish School Board. Respess was also accused of engaging in sexual conduct with the student and Dufresne at Respess’ Kenner apartment in 2014.
In a response filed July 12, Dufresne alleges it was the student who “intentionally and voluntarily” posted details about the alleged incidents on social media, including tweets and re-tweets on Twitter, claiming attainment of social status stemming from the alleged “sexual conquest of Dufresne and Respess.”
The student is also described as having made “intentional, orchestrated and unprovoked actions” that effectively negate the plaintiffs’ claim for damages, according to court documents.
Dufresne claimed she intended to request the student be transferred from her English class to another in September of 2014, at which time the student replied that she “better not,” insinuating retaliation. In the court filing, she alleges he made it clear he expected favoritism, good grades and exemption from certain class projects and assignments in return for not making “certain allegations.”
She also alleges he actively sought attention and notoriety for these allegations, including “re-tweeting” social media posts offering congratulatory statements. One such statement given as example claimed to the student, “you need a statue of you erected on a hill in Rome.”
Another claim states the student allegedly referred to himself to others as the “King of SCP” (St. Charles Parish).