The former Destrehan High School teacher who allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old student isn’t out of the woods yet. Shelley Dufrense was found not guilty of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in Jefferson Parish, but the victim’s family has a civil suit pending in St. Charles Parish against the 34-year-old. Legal analyst Tim Meche says Wednesday’s verdict shouldn’t affect the outcome of the civil suit.
“Now that her criminal cases are over, she no longer has a Fifth Amendment right and cannot refuse to testify and give a deposition,” Meche said.
Dufrense pleaded guilty to an obscenity charge in St. Charles Parish in 2015 and is not required to register as a sex offender. But Meche says that plea deal could hurt her in the civil suit.
“She’s admitted her guilt in St. Charles Parish, and the defense in Jefferson was she had sex with the guy, but it wasn’t here in Jefferson Parish,” Meche said.
Three judges in the 29th Judicial District in St. Charles Parish have recused themselves from the civil suit because one of them is Dufrense’s father. Meche says the not guilty verdict in Jefferson Parish won’t help Dufrense much in the civil suit.
“She’s already admitted to having sex with him in St. Charles Parish, and his attorneys admitted that much,” Meche said.