Tommy: Was justice served in Shelley Dufresne case?

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
April 26, 2017 - 4:05 pm

A teacher in their early 30s has sexual intercourse with a student that’s 16. As if that’s not bad enough, the student says the first teacher invites another teacher to join in. They both then proceed to take advantage of the teenager.

Chances are if you didn’t know I was talking about Shelley Dufresne and presumed it was two male teachers with a female cheerleader and not two female teachers with a male football player, your blood would be boiling.  I know mine would.  But we seem to look at it differently when it’s a boy and not a girl.  Why?

Maybe on the male side, it goes back to what we think we would have wanted when we were 16.  Having sex (because, despite being more euphemistic, it certainly was not making love) with not one but TWO attractive female teachers and being able to brag about it to our peers?  It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?   But hopefully as adults we realize that the underaged boy is just as much a victim as if it were a girl. And even if you don’t feel that way, it is illegal. At least it’s supposed to be.

Did gender bias have anything to do with the not guilty verdict in Jefferson Parish? In an obtuse way, you could say no, because the young male was accused of being a liar. Lord knows we’ve heard female victims of sexual assault being accused of that.  But what about in St. Charles Parish? There, Shelley Dufresne was allowed to plead guilty to obscenity, avoiding up to ten years in prison and having to register as a sex offender.  ADA Rachel Africk said “that’s not okay with the Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office,” so they went to trial. Dufresne chose to be tried by a judge instead of a jury. Beforehand legal experts thought that was a “big mistake.” Apparently, they were wrong.

So, was justice served? Should Shelly Dufresne be going to jail? Did she get off too lightly? What part did gender bias play in all of this?  I’ll guess we’ll never know.

Oh yeah, a couple of other things.  Shelley Dufresne’s father is St. Charles Parish district court Judge Emile St. Pierre. We don’t know anything about the victim or his family because he was 16.  His parents have filed a one million dollar civil lawsuit against the St. Charles Parish school district and Dufresne.

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