Two ex-Destrehan teachers accused of having sex with student charged in Jefferson Parish

Two former Destrehan High School teachers accused last year of having sex with a 16-year-old male student were formally charged by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office on Monday.

Shelley Dufresne, 33, was charged with two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, while Rachel Respess, 25, faces one count of failure to report the commission of certain felonies.

The two were charged in a bill of information that indicates there were actually two encounters in Jefferson Parish in 2014, one in August and another in September.

Dufresne and Respess were arrested after the second incident, in which authorities said the student was taken to Respess’ Kenner apartment for a three-way sexual encounter on Sept. 12.

Dufresne also was arrested in St. Charles Parish on allegations she had sex with the student on separate occasions there.

Respess’ attorney, Jeffery Smith, has said in previous interviews that Respess was intoxicated in her home when Dufresne and the boy showed up, and that Respess “never entered into consensual sex with this young man.”

Smith said Monday that Respess will plead not guilty.

“I appreciate all the work that’s gone into this investigation,” he said. “We are entering a plea of not guilty. I’m glad she wasn’t charged with committing a sex crime.”

Dufresne’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

The charges against Dufresne each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The charge against Respess carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $500 fine.

Dufresne agreed to a plea deal earlier this year in St. Charles Parish that will allow her to avoid any prison time there or having to register as a sex offender.

The Jefferson case was allotted to Judge Danyelle Taylor of 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.

Advocate staff reporter John Simerman contributed to this report.

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on December 15, 2015.

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