A Santa Clara County criminal grand jury has indicted Shannon O’Connor, known as the Los Gatos “party mom,” on over five dozen felony and misdemeanor charges. The indictment, handed down on Monday, includes 20 felony counts primarily related to child endangerment and aiding and abetting sexual assault, as well as 43 misdemeanor counts for allegedly furnishing alcohol to minors. O’Connor is accused of hosting liquor-fueled gatherings where she allegedly encouraged teenagers to engage in sexual activities.
The indictment bypasses the preliminary examination and expedites the case towards trial. O’Connor, currently held in Santa Clara County Jail, was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing, which will now be an arraignment on the indictment charges.
Deputy District Attorney Rebekah Wise explained that convening a criminal grand jury was done to spare the minor victims from further delays and trauma. The victims, who were minors at the time the crimes were reported in 2020, had experienced multiple postponements of the preliminary hearing, causing anxiety and retraumatization.
The indictment includes testimony from 17 reported victims who testified at the grand jury hearing, which is conducted in secret and solely managed by the prosecution. O’Connor’s counsel was not involved, and there was no cross-examination of witnesses.
The path to the preliminary examination has been plagued by delays over the past two years, with the most recent continuance in August due to a medical issue. The indictment charges are more extensive than the initial charges filed in the fall of 2021, with 24 new counts resulting from subsequent reviews of the evidence. These additional counts involve new victims identified in the alleged misconduct.
Following the indictment, O’Connor was ordered to remain in jail without bail. However, the indictment also provides an opportunity for her and her attorney to argue for affordable bail or supervised release.