DHS teachers accused of sexual misconduct with student

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, October 2, 2014

By Monique Roth

DESTREHAN — St. Charles Parish Schools administrators and School Board members remain tight-lipped regarding the drama surrounding Destrehan High School this week, as two DHS teachers were arrested and accused by authorities of having inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old male student at the school.

Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker declined to return a phone call seeking comment on the matter as of press time.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne announced Tuesday deputies arrested Shelley S. Dufresne, 34, of 805 Country Cottage Blvd. in Montz, at 5:30 p.m. on a warrant for one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

“Dufresne, who is a teacher at Destrehan High School, allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old student who attends Destrehan High School,” Champagne said. “The incident occurred in the early part of September at a residence in Montz.”

Judge Lauren Lemmon set Dufresne’s bond at $200,000. Dufresne was released after posting a $10,000 cash bond and a personal surety bond for the remainder of the balance.

Stevie Crovetto, director of public Information for St. Charles Parish Schools, released a statement saying as soon as the school system was alerted to the allegations, an investigation was immediately conducted and the Sheriff’s Office notified.

“The school system has been fully cooperating with the Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation and is being advised by our attorney,” Crovetto said. “Since arrests have been made, the teachers are currently suspended without pay. According to ACT 570, Louisiana law does not allow for suspension without pay until an arrest has been made. This matter is a personnel issue and confidential, therefore no other information will be discussed.”

She has been placed on house arrest and is not allowed to leave the residence except for continued intensive mental health treatment, doctors’ appointments and church. Dufresne must provide the court with proof of continued treatment. Failure to comply will result in Dufresne reporting back to jail.

Champagne said St. Charles Parish Public School District officials first brought the reported incident to the attention of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Sept. 26, when reports of a male student bragging to others about having a sexual relationship with teachers became public.

“The entire investigation is ongoing,” Champagne said, adding “an additional incident has allegedly occurred in another jurisdiction, and that agency is participating in the investigation.”

Light was shed on the additional incident when, while acting on information provided by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, Kenner Police Chief Michael J. Glaser said Kenner Police detectives arrested Dufresne and 24-year-old Rachel Respess, another DHS teacher, Wednesday.

Each was booked with one count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, indecent behavior with juveniles and contributing to the delinquency of juveniles for allegedly having group sex with the victim last month in Respess’ Kenner apartment.

Glaser said the defendants surrendered themselves Wednesday to the Kenner Police Department and were taken to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, where both were released on a $7,000 bond.

“These charges stem from unlawful sexual acts with a 16-year-old victim that occurred at a residence in the City of Kenner on the night of Friday, September 12, and carrying over into the early morning of Saturday, September 13,” Glaser said in a press conference Wednesday.