The Los Gatos parents and teens embroiled in the now three-year saga involving a party house, a "cool mom" who let 15-year-olds drink, and allegations of sexual assault will not be getting any relief from the case. Accused mom Shannon O'Connor has opted not to take a plea deal offered by prosecutors, so there will likely now be a trial.
We heard last month that O'Connor was amenable to pleading guilty if she got an eight-year plea deal, but it looks like the judge and prosecutors are adamant that O'Connor serve more time than that. Like more than twice that.
As ABC 7 reports, Judge Elizabeth Peterson "indicated" that the sentence would 17 years in exchange for a guilty plea, and O'Connor refused to accept that in a hearing on Tuesday. Under the deal, O'Connor would have also had to register as a sex offender.
The case will now proceed to a preliminary hearing on August 17.
"Given the conduct in this case took place over the course of nine months and the defendant took extensive action to try and hide what she was doing from law enforcement, from parents, for quite some time, I am not surprised this is proceeding to preliminary hearing," said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Rebekah Wise, per ABC 7.
Wise added, "The conduct we have in this was an egregious series of events that was an abuse of children and it was extreme. The defendant was extreme in her actions. So, our goal is to get justice for the victims and for the community and it has always been that. Whether that happens on a shortened timeline or on a longer timeline, it does not matter to me as long as were able to get justice for the community."
As part of the process that preceded a potential deal, there was a harrowing hearing in a Santa Clara County courtroom last month in which several mothers and a group of O'Connor's alleged teen victims spoke about the depravity and trauma they experienced back in 2020 and 2021.
At the hearing, multiple girls spoke about the nightmares they've suffered since their experiences — which included bullying in and outside of school.
One mother said of O'Connor during her statement, "She taught our daughter how to drink like a rock star. She was only 14, had never had alcohol and never had a boyfriend. It’s disgusting to me."
O'Connor allegedly facilitated a series of alcohol-fueled parties for her 15-year-old son and his friends starting around May 2020, and allegedly encouraged the teens to keep it all a secret from their parents. The charges in the case also extend to Idaho, where she fled with her two sons as law enforcement began investigating this case, and where she allegedly stalked and harassed at least one teenage girl whom she was trying to fix her son up with. One Los Gatos boy may have also gotten a concussion after an alleged drunken escapade hanging off O'Connor's car in a Los Gatos parking lot being driven by another teen.
Now, as ABC 7 reports, if she is found guilty, O'Connor could face up to 20 years behind bars.