A Los Gatos woman of means is accused of hosting secret parties with dozens of teenagers present throughout the last year, and pushing them to drink excessively and have sex with each other. And if it weren't bad enough that she was hosting these gatherings in the middle of a pandemic, she allegedly got the teens so drunk that one fell off a moving car and got a concussion, and another claims she was sexually assaulted.
Sordid stories about adults doing inappropriate things with teenagers, or encouraging bad behavior and behaving badly themselves, are not new. But the criminal case against Shannon Bruga, a.k.a Shannon O’Connor, is one for the books. Bruga is a resident of Los Gatos, and seems to have a wealthy, tech-employed husband from whom she hid all of this partying with teens. And over the last year she's clearly become the talk of Los Gatos High School, both among students who were and were not invited to these illicit booze bashes, and among their parents who slowly caught wind of what's allegedly been going on.
As the Mercury News reports, via an investigative outline that accompanied the criminal complaint filed against Bruga, teens interviewed by investigators say that in addition to plying them with large amounts of alcohol, Bruga was well known to coerce sexual behavior among them. And in some instances, non-consensual sex acts allegedly occurred between two teens who were both too drunk to remember any of it.
Bruga, 47, was also reportedly obsessed with Snapchat and texting, and used these to arrange the secret parties and encourage the kids to keep them secret from their friends and parents. Another odd detail: She allegedly has multiple aliases?
Bruga allegedly threw her first teen party sometime in June 2020, and while some were small gatherings, several became large ragers — and all the while, investigators say, she hid the evidence from her husband and only hosted the parties when he was out of the house. Bruga is married to Robert Amaral, who currently serves as chief revenue officer of SlashNext, an anti-fraud software company in Pleasanton.
Investigators say that Bruga rented a cottage in Santa Cruz last October and arranged a 15th birthday party for her son, attended by a dozen teen boys and girls, and Bruga allegedly told them all to keep their phones put away. That party reportedly caused $9,000 in damage to the rental home.
Bruga also allegedly took a group of teens to Tahoe in February, and made up a story for them all to tell their parents.
The most egregious alleged incident, which appears to be one of the key alarm-bells that went off for parents as they learned of it, occurred on December 19, 2020. Bruga allegedly drove her son and two of his friends in her SUV while they were drinking alcohol to the point of vomiting. And she then allegedly let them drive, unlicensed, in the parking lot of Los Gatos High School, and at one point, the son and another boy reportedly were hanging off the back of the car when the other boy fell off and hit his head, and lost consciousness for 30 seconds.
Investigators say the boy "spent the night vomiting, and almost drowned in the tub due to his intoxication," and he later was determined to have gotten a concussion.
A witness to the incident called 911 and Bruga was apparently questioned by police at a nearby minimart, but she was able to convince police that the vomit in her SUV was from carsickness, and she was let go.
Bruga is also accused of "laughing" after hearing that an intoxicated girl at one party was digitally penetrated by one of Bruga's son's friends while she was nearly unconscious.
The very thin ruse around this teen party circuit began to crumble by March 2021, when a classmate told her parents about the boy's concussion, and word started to spread.
Bruga was just arrested on Saturday in Idaho, where the family also apparently has a home. She was taken into custody in Ada County, Idaho, and is awaiting extradition back to Santa Clara County.
As the Mercury News reports, Bruga faces 39 criminal charges, including felony child abuse, sexual assault, and providing alcohol to minors.
There is no indication that any of the teens will be charged in connection with what investigators have described as coerced sex acts.