Vice Squad
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Parents Who Supplied Alcohol to Teens Out of Jail

They invited teens over to their older son's 16th birthday party, collected car keys, and served alcohol. The idea was that the guests would all spend the night. Other parents were not informed of the alcohol, however. At any rate, no one was injured -- except for the host family, that is. Loud music brought a phalanx of police and dogs to their Charlottesville, Virginia home about 11PM. The teens, who initially scattered, were tested for alcohol, and nine of the sixteen who were tested came up positive. The mom and dad, now divorced, were convicted and sentenced to eight years -- a sentence that eventually was reduced to 27 months. The oldest son, the birthday celebrant, dropped out of school because of the case, and to look after the temporarily orphaned younger son, who was himself 16 when the jail terms began. After serving five months, the parents were released from jail before Thanksgiving.

Here's a Washington Post story dating from the start of the jail terms. Here's a BBC News story, not very sympathetic to the Virginia authorities, from a few days after the jail terms started. (This early attention led to difficulties with the other inmates, so the mom was moved into protective solitary confinement.) Here's today's Washington Post story on the mom's release from jail; in it, we learn of someone else negatively affected by the case, the prosecutor, who lost a campaign for re-election that highlighted a crackdown against underage drinking. Here's addiction expert Stanton Peele's Wall Street Journal op-ed (via Radley) on the benefits of introducing alcohol to your kids at home.

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