Covina-Valley Teachers Convicted of Drug, Sex Charges During Student Camping Trip
Two former female high school teachers were convicted and sentenced Friday for unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage male student during alcohol and drug fueled camping trip at San Clemente State Beach, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Melody Suzanne Lippert, 38, pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse. She was sentenced to three years formal probation and three months in jail, which would be dismissed upon her completion of 15 days of work with CalTrans, the DA’s office stated in a news release.
Her co-defendant Michelle Louise Ghirelli, 30, pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse and one felony count of furnishing a controlled substance, the release stated.
She was sentenced to three years formal probation and 180 days in jail, which would be dismissed if she completed 180 days in a lock-down rehabilitation facility.
Both woman had their teaching credentials revoked for life in the State of California, according to prosecutors.
At the time of the trip, Ghirelli was employed at the Covina-Valley Unified School District and Lippert was a teacher at South Hills High School in West Covina.
The trip was organized by Lippert and was not approved by the school or the district, according to prosecutors.
Between Dec. 27, 2014, and Dec. 29, 2014, the teachers camped with the five students at San Clemente State Beach.
During the trip, Ghirelli illegally distributed alcohol and cocaine to the underage students, prosecutors said.
At some point, Lippert facilitated Ghirelli’s sexual relationship with 17-year-old John Doe, the release stated.
Ghirelli engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse with John Doe and orally copulated the victim, according to prosecutors.
The Covina-Valley Unified School District initially reported the case to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.