SWL: Court not charging couple for party with underage drinkers; Police disappointed, sending message to community

Last month, Southborough Police announced they were charging a couple with ” Procuring Liquor to a Person Under 21.” The charges stemmed from a Halloween party with teens held at the couple’s home that purportedly grew out of control. According to Southborough Wicked Local, the couple isn’t being charged at this time.

The court continued the case for 6 months. It will be dropped if there are no further incidents by then. 

In November, police stated that they were called into the party for a medical issue involving a juvenile under the influence. According to SWL’s November article, a “drunken teenage girl” was taken to the hospital. It also reported that according to police, the parents said they expected about 40 teens but about 100 showed up.

No details of the defense came out of the closed door hearing. And the couple charged still haven’t publicly commented with their side of the story.

(Some comments under my original post defended them as not responsible for the alcohol. That included a claim that the party was crashed by kids already drunk and with alcohol. But, none of those commenters shared their full names or sources.)

In the initial press release, Police Chief Kenneth Paulhus pointed people to the department’s policy on underage drinking. He also encouraged the public “to report any incidents of underage drinking or drug use to the Department Dispatch Center for further investigation.”

Based on the article, it appears the Chief is using the case to send a warning to other parents in town. And the article explains that charges can be brought not just for actively supplying alcohol to minors but by just “knowingly” allowing underage drinking.

SWL writes:

After a hearing that took place behind closed doors in court, a Southborough couple will not be charged for allowing underage drinking at an unruly Halloween party at their home. . .

On Wednesday, Police Chief Ken Paulhus said no charges will be brought against the couple. The case is continued for six months and will be dismissed if they don’t get into further trouble.

“We are disappointed. We wanted to see the case move forward,” Paulhus said. “We respect the court’s decision, but we want to send a message to the community.”

He said if there is evidence of underage drinking, the department will take steps to charge those responsible.

State law says anyone who “furnishes” alcohol to person under 21 can be fined $2,000, sentenced to a year in jail or both. “Furnish” is defined as “knowingly or intentionally supply, give, provide to, or allow to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged,” according to state law.

For the full story, click here.

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4 years ago

Not sure what is wrong with these judges that make these decisions. This couple was clearly guilty. What if a child had been killed leaving that party? Then do we charge them $100 and send them on their way. These parents should be ashamed of themselves as should any parent who allows this type of thing to go on at their residence. Hopefully there will not be a next time for these people but if there is, God help them if somebody is hurt or killed. Remember the Murphy sisters?

4 years ago

Presumably first offense, they have to stay out of trouble for six months. There names got reported throughout New England and because the internet is forever, essentially a life sentence of potential embarrassment. If they hired a lawyer additional costs plus time off from work a couple of times. Seem like a fair result.

4 years ago

WOW ! You’ve got to be kidding. Can’t believe the recklessness of these kids. Drinking??? do they realize the drinking age is 21 ! They should be at home studying, not out partying. Couldn’t imagine doing this in my day.

southside Mom
4 years ago

Everything you outline here as a fair “consequence” of the parties outcome is a result of the parent’s action. Names reported throughout New England, a “life sentence of potential embarrassment”, and potential legal fees are all, again, results of the parent’s actions not the kids. When the parents decided to provide alcohol to minors, whether they were under the assumption that 40 minors or 140 minors were going arrive that is irreverent, because they accepted the liability for all of your so called consequences to happen.

I can not understand how you justify a fair result of the incident. This has nothing to do with the kids involved, but solely the parents. It is Halloween night with high school students- to expect the kids to not drink would be setting naive expectations. The parents promoted this irresponsible behavior. Of course we understand underage drinking is something that occurs and we can not deny that, but what justice are we doing by allowing the kids to do so, seemingly so easily. What example is being set? You say a fair result when really they got less then what was deserved. This incident was swept under the rug and the parents got off easy if anything they should have been punished further than a few legal fees and deserved embarrassment. I challenge you to think if a child or loved one of yours was injured or killed as a result of the alcohol provided by the parents we are supposed to trust our kids with would you still feel it was still fair.

concerned resident
4 years ago

Can we please stay within the framework of facts as given in the Nov 9th article and the outcome stated above. https://mysouthborough.com/2017/11/09/couple-faces-charges-for-providing-alcohol-to-underage-partiers/

This is what do we KNOW:
— Police received a medical call involving a juvenile under the influence of alcohol. The juvenile was transported to the hospital presumably per MA state regs for EMS (105CMR170). Prudent action since its unknown if any other intoxicant in system

— Officers saw “a large number of empty beer cans” and red party cups in plain sight

— no other juveniles were intoxicated to a degree that required medical attention. Out of 100 kids at almost midnight, that must indicate something about the “unruliness” of the party.
— Under M.G.L. c. 138, s. 34, to “furnish” means to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, provide OR allow to possess alcoholic beverages on your property or any premises you control.

All other statements regarding this matter are conjecture. (maybe wholly or partially accurate, maybe inaccurate). So lets keep the ‘finger wagging, judgemental statements’ to a minimum. BTW, it appears clear that the police handled the entire situation prudently and objectively.

And I can assume that the judge in this matter weighed all credible evidence and therefore make his/her decision accordingly. Since the outcome was merely a continuation and NOT a guilty verdict, we can also strongly infer if not directly say that the parents/couple were NOT definitively responsible for ‘furnishing’ alcohol.

All around this matter was handled appropriately and prudently. Lets not get on our high horses and infer more. Lessons learned, all around. p.s. i dont know the parents very well at all so i am NOT biased. I do know their reputation is above reproach however, just nice people who didnt sufficiently monitor a simple kids Halloween party. Not irresponsible parents

4 years ago

If they had children on their property that were drinking and there were beer cans all over, that is irresponsible parents. I tend to think, Concerned resident that if you child was taken to the hospital from the party where it was being “sufficiently monitored”, you would have a different attitude. Does anyone remember the Murphy sisters? I happen to know the one girl in that car that lived, hanging upside down for a very long time before she could be cut out. I am sure she also has a different take. It is time for parents to be parents and be help responsible. Great job by the Southborough PD for doing what they are supposed to do. Too bad they don’t have the backing of the courts.

southside Mom
4 years ago

The police did the handle the situation and charged the parents because they were guilty. Unfortunately, the clerk magistrate did not think that under age drinking with adults aware on their property was a crime. So, I guess its okay since only 1 teenager out of 100 needed medical attention for under age drinking. Not quite sure how you can say the parents are not irresponsible since they had 100 kids show up and when the police arrived there was empty beer cans all over the yard, responsible parents would have been outside monitoring what was going on and not turning a blind eye trying to be the ” cool parents “. I guess we don’t need to worry about the safety of our kids and drinking until something else happens or it involves your family concerned resident.

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