Louisiana Teacher Who Admitted to Sex with Teen Found Not Guilty of Threesome with Student and Co-Worker
Shelly Dufresne had previously admitted to having sex with the student as part of a guilty plea
A Louisiana teacher accused of having a threesome with a 16-year-old student and a co-worker was found not guilty Wednesday of having sex with the teen on two occasions in 2014, PEOPLE confirms.
A judge on Wednesday found 34-year-old Shelley Dufresne not guilty of two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, a spokesman from the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office tells PEOPLE. The English teacher had been accused of having sex with her teen student on two separate encounters in Jefferson Parish in 2014, including the alleged threesome with the fellow teacher, the spokesman says.
“I do not believe that the threshold has been met by the evidence presented to this court,” Judge Danyelle Taylor said, according to the Times-Picayune.
In 2015, Dufresne pleaded guilty to a lesser obscenity charge in St. Charles Parish after admitting to having sex with the underage student, the spokesman says.
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However, the investigation alleged that the pair had sex in Jefferson Parish as well, with one encounter including another teacher, Rachel Respess, The Advocate reports.
In 2014, Dufresne and Respess, were arrested and charged with engaging in a threesome with the teen. The student told investigators that he consented to sex with his English teachers, but state law defined him as a minor at the time.
Officials said the teen was “bragging to other students” about the encounter, prompting school district officials to alert authorities.
In court on Wednesday, Taylor said that because there was little physical evidence that Dufresne and the teen had sex in Jefferson Parish, the case rested on the credibility of the student, who is now 19, according to The Advocate.
“I am left with the inconsistent and factually inaccurate statements of a person who I now understand does not want to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” she said, according to the publication.
After pleading guilty to the obscenity charge in 2015, a judge sentenced Dufresne to three years probation and 90 days at an inpatient mental health facility. She was also fined $1,000.
Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick reportedly said the office disagrees with Taylor’s verdict, according to WGNO.
“As a district attorney, I feel that we have an obligation to ensure that schools are safe learning environments and that our students are not preyed upon by those placed in positions of trust,” he said.
Respess faces charges in Jefferson Parish but has not yet gone to trial.
• With reporting by GREG HANLON