Two Destrehan High School teachers arrested on charges that they had sex with a 16-year-old student at a Kenner apartment last month have been released from jail.
Rachel Respess, 24, and Shelley Dufresne, 32, surrendered to Kenner police Wednesday and were taken to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, where they were booked on identical charges of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, indecent behavior with a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, authorities said.
Their bail was set at $7,000 each. Dufresne posted bond and was released from jail Wednesday evening, court records show. Respess followed suit early Thursday morning.
They’re due in court for a status conference on Nov. 17.
Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser said Wednesday that the charges stem from “unlawful sexual acts” that allegedly took place at Respess’ Kenner apartment on the night of Sept. 12-13, following a Destrehan football game. School officials reported the incident to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office last week after the alleged victim reportedly told other students that he was having sex with teachers.
Glaser said the student has 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.
On Thursday, Respess’ attorney, Jeffrey Smith, said she “has obviously not admitted to any wrongdoing.”
Smith said he was still reviewing the case, but he said the alleged victim has since turned 17, which is the legal age of consent in Louisiana. “Let’s put it this way: It’s not like the person is 13 or 14, and we know for a fact that he’s not going to be 17 for years,” he said.
“We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out,” he added.
Dufresne, who lives in Montz, also was arrested Tuesday based on allegations that she had sex with the student on a separate occasion in St. Charles Parish. She was booked on one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in connection with that alleged encounter, which authorities said occurred early in September at a home in Montz.
Dufresne, who is the daughter of 29th Judicial District Court Judge Emile St. Pierre, did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.
She was released Tuesday evening on a $200,000 bond set by Judge Lauren Lemmon, who has since recused herself from the case. Conditions of her release stipulated that she remain on house arrest except for limited circumstances.
Both teachers have been suspended without pay.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.