Two former California teachers convicted of drug, sex charges during student camping trip

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From left, Melody Suzanne Lippert, 38, of Covina, and Michelle Louise Ghirelli, 30, of West Covina. (Photo: KTLA/Los Angeles)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) — Two former high school teachers were convicted and sentenced Friday for unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage male student during an alcohol- and drug-fueled camping trip.

KTLA-TV reported Melody Suzanne Lippert, 38, pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse. She was sentenced to three years probation and three months in jail, which would be dismissed upon her completion of 15 days of work with CalTrans, the DA’s office said.

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. She was sentenced to three years probation and 180 days in jail, which would be dismissed if she completed 180 days in a lock-down rehabilitation facility.

Both have 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, they stated.

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  • Dan Rafael

    Holy cow, talk about a double standard in sentencing. Had this been male teachers who provided alcohol and drugs to a minor then had sex with them (statutory rape) they would be doing hard time not two weeks at CalTrans.

    • HBIC

      These women want equal pay equal rights and so on, but don’t want the courts to treat them like men? I’m confused. .

      • DNanc

        HBIC – just FYI, women have long arrived and many bypassed men in equal pay, feminism created really bad behavior, outrageous attitudes, and reversed laws aimed against men. And I agree with you, they should be punished as any man would be in CA or anyother state.

      • DNanc

        My clarification – reversed laws and created new ones that are aimed against men and hold women to a different set of laws, more like a traffic ticket.

  • DNanc

    I totally agree, the laws, not just in CA but across the country are so lax JUST because they’re women, let alone teachers. If it were men they’d be doing prison time for a VERY long time, ostracized, have their pics posted as sexual predators over and over, etc.. a crime has occurrred and the laws should be EQUALLY applied and punished accordingly. I’ve seen cases like this over and over in the media, in fact more and more women seem to be involved in these type of crimes and behavior and many seem to look the other way….kinda like oh well. It’s WRONG to let these off the hook with a slap on the wrist just because they’re women. If this was two men and an underage girl, alcohol, drugs and sex, if they could be hanged they would be. As a woman, I find this alarming and again WRONG.

  • Red fox

    The educational system of this country needs an overhaul. A friend of mine was sedused by his teacher and he is a basket case now. He has been through countless counseling and treatment for drugs, booze and sex addiction. Guess what you and I are paying for it with his lawsuit against the Calif. school system.

  • wowjustwow

    Dateline had one of these women on their show last week. She had the whole skinny, blue eyes and big white choppers thing going on and she was doing a 15 year old….I think she was 34 or so and psycho as all get out….she kind of had that creepy Latournou aire about her.