In a press release, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced felony charges against 38-year-old Melony Lippert of Covina, California and 30-year-old Michelle Ghirelli of West Covina for alleged sexual relations with students during a camping trip at San Clemente Beach last year.
Police say Lippert and Ghirelli distributed alcohol and cocaine to the students during the camping trip. At one point, police say Lippert “facilitated” a sexual relationship between Ghirelli and an unidentified17-year-old student.
The pair were arrested in January following a police investigation. Last month, a prosecutor told the Los Angeles Times newspaper that Ghrelli did not dispute the sexual relationship took place, but had provided “various reasons” as to why she believed the student was an adult.
Both teachers were paid on administrative leave following their arrest in January. They have since resigned. Lawyers for the teachers say they plan to enter a “not guilty” plea at a hearing on Wednesday. If convicted, both teachers face over 10 years in state prison.