Court docs, arrest shed light on Los Gatos party mom

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The parties didn’t stop when Shannon O’Connor moved her two young teenage boys to Idaho.

When the Los Gatos mother — who is accused of throwing secret parties where she encouraged her 15-year-old son and Los Gatos High freshman to drink and engage in sex acts — was arrested last week in the Boise suburb of Star, she was found at her new rental home with 12 teenagers — 10 boys and two girls — “most of whom spent the night there,” authorities there said.

Shannon O’Connor, aka Shannon Bruga, has been charged with child endangerment and sexual battery related to allegations she repeatedly furnished her son and other teens with alcohol for raucous parties at her Los Gatos home, and is now suspected of doing the same at her other homes in Idaho. (Ada County Sheriff’s Office) 

“Our investigators suspect (O’Connor) held other parties with local teenagers over the last several months,” according to the Ada County Sheriff’s office.

Now, O’Connor, 47, is sitting in an Idaho jail with more than 40 criminal charges filed against her in the Bay Area, including multiple counts of felony child endangerment, misdemeanor sexual battery and child molestation. Her sons, who local authorities determined were “in imminent danger,” are in the custody of Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare.

According to neighbors in a luxury apartment complex in nearby Eagle, Idaho, where O’Connor and her boys first moved earlier this year, the parties were so loud over the summer that the downstairs neighbors urged their landlord to evict them. Soon after, O’Connor relocated to nearby Star while awaiting the sale of her family’s $4.7 million home in Los Gatos.

There is some indication that while O’Connor was being investigated in Santa Clara County for the Los Gatos parties, word was making its way to where she was living in Idaho.

According to the sheriff’s office, a family in the area who met and befriended O’Connor online learned about the parties and criminal investigation out of Los Gatos and tried to cut ties with O’Connor, who is also known as Shannon Bruga and is married to Silicon Valley tech executive Robert Amaral.

“They told detectives that’s when (she) started harassing them,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Other charges are looming: In addition to the 39 party-related charges filed against O’Connor on Oct. 8, prosecutors in Santa Clara County filed three grand theft charges alleging she racked up $120,000 in unauthorized expenses on her former employer’s company credit cards — including payments for limo rides, clothing and alcohol delivered to her home.

O’Connor had apparently been known in some Los Gatos circles as “the cool mom” ever since her older son was in middle school. She raised eyebrows among parents for her chumminess with her sons’ friends. It apparently became more pronounced as the elder son was entering high school, with her sending text and Snapchat messages to the teens.

The investigation headed by the DA’s office contends that her illegal parties spanned from June 2020, when her oldest son was 14, to May 2021 and included at least a half-dozen large events and several smaller gatherings involving mostly 14- and 15-year-olds.

A prevailing element of the parties, as the teens reportedly told investigators, was that O’Connor encouraged the teens to have sex or engage in sex acts, with the minors in various states of inebriation suggesting that many of the sexual interactions were not consensual. She also reportedly handed out condoms.

Other allegations describe how she would help teens sneak out of their houses to drink at her house and how she was diligent about reminding the boys and girls who attended to keep it secret. O’Connor is accused of bullying at least one girl she suspected of breaking the secret. A parent of a girl who asserts she was sexually assaulted at the parties said she tried to alert Los Gatos High School — where O’Connor’s son played on the freshman football team — but saw no action taken.

In some instances, teens were injured because of their inebriation under O’Connor’s watch, investigators say, including a girl who almost drowned in a hot tub and a boy who suffered a concussion after drunkenly falling off the back of an SUV that O’Connor was driving. That latter injury was a touchstone in word getting out more widely about what was happening.

Another parent said there’s a consensus that O’Connor left Los Gatos at the end of the past school year “because of the firestorm that was about to hit.”

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