Judge releases victim’s identity in Destrehan teacher sex scandal

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DESTREHAN, La. (WGNO) - A court document  which revealed the name of the juvenile student who police say had sex with his Destrehan High teachers was made public last week.

According to letter of reenactment, while filing for recusal St. Charles Parish Judge Michele Morel attached an arrest warrant that included the victim's name, address, and telephone numbers.

Once the discovery was made last Wednesday St. Charles Parish District Attorney's Office filed a motion and order for redaction.

District Attorney Joel Chaisson has since ordered a redaction and issued this statement Tuesday:

"Our motion speaks for itself. My only comment is that I am extremely disappointed that this document, which identified the name, address, and phone number of the juvenile victim in this case, was filed by Judge Morel into the public record. I am very appreciative of the fact that this was promptly brought to our attention by the Clerk's office so that we were able to quickly get an ORDER redacting all identifying information of the juvenile victim from the public record as required by law."

WGNO has reached out to the student's family and his attorney, Carlos Zelaya, who says he is also disappointed. While he wouldn't speculate as to why his client's personal information was made public by Judge Morel, he did say he had never seen anything like this before.

32-year-old Shelley Dufresne and 24-year-old Rachel Respess are facing charges out of Jefferson Parish where Respess lived and the two are accused of having a threesome with the underage student.

Dufresne is also facing charges out of St. Charles Parish where she lives with her husband and three young children. She is the daughter of one of only three judges in St. Charles Parish, Emile St. Pierre.

Judge Lauren Lemmon recused herself weeks ago.

Judge Michele Morel and Judge Lauren Lemmon have recused themselves because their colleague is Shelley Dufresne's father. The Supreme Court of Louisiana has assigned an outside judge from Acadiana to handle the case.

UPDATE:  WGNO has received the following press release from St. Charles Parish Clerk of Court Lance Marino:

Judge Morel correctly pointed out that papers filed by her office into the public record included the identity of the juvenile victim in a criminal case involving adult teachers. This error on her part was promptly identified by me and my experienced staff as we processed the record.

While Louisiana Clerks of Court have no obligation or authority to review or correct attorneys’ or judges’ errors, we acted quickly to protect the privacy of the juvenile. Since all of the district judges had already recused themselves in the matter, I approached District Attorney Chaisson who acted expeditiously and effectively to obtain an ad hoc Judge’s order which allowed me to redact the sensitive information from the record.

I would like to extend my appreciation to my extremely competent staff, District Attorney Chaisson and Judge Anne Simon for working closely with me to protect the young person involved in this unfortunate situation.

St. Charles Parish Clerk of Court
Lance Marino

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