Two Destrehan High School teachers are facing accusations that they invited a 16-year-old student to a Kenner apartment last month for a three-way sexual encounter.
Rachel Respess, 24, and Shelley Dufresne, 32, were booked on one count each of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, indecent behavior with a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, authorities said.
Both women surrendered to Kenner police Wednesday and were taken to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center for booking. They were still in custody by early evening.
Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that the charges stem from “unlawful sexual acts” that allegedly took place at Respess’ Kenner apartment late Sept. 12 and early into the next morning, following a Destrehan football game. He said police do not believe illegal drugs or alcohol were used at the apartment, but that they could have been a factor earlier in the evening.
The teachers were friends, Glaser said.
Respess taught the alleged victim’s English class last year, and Dufresne was his English teacher this year, he said.
School officials reported the incident to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office last week after the alleged victim reportedly bragged to other students that he was having sex with teachers.
Glaser said the student has since cooperated with St. Charles authorities, and he described the encounter as consensual.
Kenner police interviewed Respess, who corroborated some of the student’s claims “but stopped short of a total confession,” Glaser said.
He added, “She stopped short at giving intricate details, but enough for us to issue a warrant.”
Kenner police are still working to gather additional evidence, which Glaser said could include video or photographs of the encounter that may have been taken with a cellphone.
“No matter what the sex of the victim is, everyone should be outraged when you have an educator” allegedly involved in an incident like this, Glaser said.
Dufresne, who lives in Montz, had already been arrested Tuesday based on allegations that she had sex with the student on a separate occasion in St. Charles Parish. In connection with that alleged encounter, which authorities said occurred early in September at a home in Montz, Dufresne was booked on one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Patrick Yoes said.
Dufresne is the daughter of 29th Judicial District Court Judge Emile St. Pierre.
She was released Tuesday evening on a $200,000 bond set by Judge Lauren Lemmon. Conditions of her release stipulated that she remain on house arrest except for limited circumstances.
Lemmon has since recused herself from the case, saying in a court filing that “her professional relationship with the defendant’s father could reflect on her ability to be fair and impartial in this matter.”
The case has been reassigned to Judge Michele Morel, who may also decide to recuse herself.
Dufresne, who is married and has three young children, graduated from Destrehan High in 2000 and LSU in 2005, according to the school system’s website. She has taught at the high school for 10 years.
Stevie Crovetto, a spokeswoman for St. Charles Parish schools, said in an email Wednesday that the school district “has been fully cooperating” with authorities. Upon their arrests, both teachers were suspended without pay, she said.
“This matter is a personnel issue and confidential. Therefore no other information will be discussed,” she said.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.