The undoing of Los Gatos mom Shannon O'Connor, and the first bits of evidence that led to her arrest earlier this month on charges including felony child abuse and sexual assault, may have begun with one drunk teenage boy and his cellphone that kept pinging after he passed out.
Some parents connected to the case have come forward and begun telling their sides of the drama to the Mercury News, adding some shape and color to the already sordid narrative. This follows on O'Connor being extradited last week from Idaho to Santa Clara County, and subsequently being denied bail in a Wednesday hearing.
A few key pieces of the story have emerged from the parents' accounts, things that weren't fully explained in the initial evidence filing at the time of O'Connor's arrest. We learn that one tip-off to parents of Los Gatos High teens about the boozy parties O'Connor was throwing for much of the last year came when a parent picked up their 14-year-old son from one Halloween party — and he was barefoot and wet, and vomited as soon as he arrived home, smelling of alcohol.
When he passed out, the parents noticed Snapchat messages coming into his phone, with a group text in which O'Connor was asking how the party went — and she had apparently not been there, as she had told the parents would be. The upset parents quickly realized she had arranged the drunken party and let the kids loose in the house with her 15-year-old freshman quarterback son as host, while she was out with her husband.
The parents learned that O'Connor went by "Nun" on Snapchat, and she allegedly wrote, "how did it all go," to which one teen replied, "Thank you Shannon!"
The parents' also saw references to their son having been drunk at O'Connor's house before, and other references to teen sex, with O'Connor asking questions about whether anyone's parents figured out that she wasn't there.
Then, they say, that the user known as "Nun" began deleting the message threads, making sure there'd be no evidence — as one can do on Snapchat.
Then these parents learned of O'Connor's alleged meddling her 15-year-old's love life, allegedly trying to facilitate a dating relationship with one teen girl — whom she reportedly messaged incessantly herself. The parents of the girl say they found messages in which O'Connor was coaching their daughter in how to lie to them in order to attend parties with her son. The girl would later reveal that she had been the victim of sexual abuse at the parties by other boys, when she was intoxicated — and this is the girl who apparently told the story to investigators about O'Connor "laughing" at her when she tried to confront O'Connor about one of the non-consensual encounters that occurred.
We also learn from these parents that O'Connor and her son were later video-chatting with a teen girl in Ada County, Idaho — someone whom the son met while playing Fortnite online.
Parents in Los Gatos say they believe that O'Connor moved with her sons to Idaho in order for her son to pursue a romantic relationship with this girl — and the mother of the girls says that O'Connor herself would lavish the girl with gifts, including roses, a $200 Tiffany necklace, and food deliveries.
If this weren't all creepy enough, we know that O'Connor and her two sons were found with at least 10 other teenagers in their Idaho home on the day that O'Connor was arrested two weeks ago. So the parties likely continued there, with a different group of teens — but the Idaho girl they'd allegedly moved to be near was not a part of these parties.
As the Mercury News reports, the Idaho mother says she confronted O'Connor about texts she found on her daughter's found, and ended the relationship between their families — but she told investigators that texts, Snapchat messages, and phone calls continued coming to her daughter's phone all summer, and they traced them back to O'Connor.
Also, we learn that it was parents in Los Gatos who did their own detective work and tipped off the Idaho woman about O'Connor. When they learned that the O'Connors had moved to Idaho, they used social media to figure out who O'Connor's son was dating, and they let the mother know about what had gone down in California, and possible charges pending against O'Connor.
In addition to the assault allegations, O'Connor has been blamed in a concussion suffered by one of her son's friends in an alleged drunken incident in her car late last year in which she was believed to be involved.
As the Idaho woman tells the Mercury News, "We were really all fooled by the ‘cool mom’ thing. Looking back… the red flags were there."
We're likely to learn more as the case makes its way through the court about O'Connor's reportedly weird and problematic relationship to her son. And already, Santa Clara County prosecutors have suggested that O'Connor herself got "gratification" in facilitating these boozy sexual encounters between teenagers. We still don't know whether that was just from watching, or what.
Unsurprisingly, other charges have come up that paint a bigger picture of a woman acting recklessly and (allegedly) illegally. Namely, the 47-year-old is accused of racking up $120,000 in personal charges on company credit cards belonging to her former employer — and there's a criminal charge from the past, involving insurance fraud in which both she and her husband pleaded no contest and served jail time.
Additional charges may still be pending in Idaho.
Photo via Ada County Sheriff