Entries in Underage Drinking (6)


Oklahoma Judge Sentences Teen to Church for 10 Years

Comstock/Thinkstock(MUSKOGEE, Okla.) -- Anybody who knows Oklahoma District Court Judge Mike Norman probably yawned at the news that he’d sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement, and that the judge’s pastor was in the courtroom at the time.

Not only had he handed down such a sentence before, but he’d required one man to bring the church program back with him when he reported to court.

“The Lord works in many ways,” Norman, 69, told ABC News Friday. “I’ve done a little bit of this kind of thing before, but never on such a serious charge.”

Norman sentenced Tyler Alred, 17, Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August for killing friend and passenger John Luke Dum in a car crash.

Dum died on impact in December after Alred crashed his Chevrolet pickup truck, ejecting Dum. Alred was 16 at the time of the crash and had been drinking prior to the deadly accident.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol issued a Breathalyzer at the time, and although Alred was under the state’s legal alcohol limit, he had been drinking underage.

The judge could have sent Alred to jail but, instead, taking into account his clean criminal and school records, sentenced him to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet, participate in counseling groups and attend a church of his choosing – weekly. He must also graduate from high school.

To avoid jail time, Norman gave Alred a maximum 10-year deferred sentence.

He’d never passed down the church-attendance requirement for someone as young as Alred,  said Norman, who has worked as a district Judge in Muskogee for 14 years.

“It’s not going to be automatic, I guarantee you,”  Norman said of the church sentence on future manslaughter charges. “There are a lot of people who say I can’t do what I did. They’re telling me I can’t legally sentence someone to church.”

Alred’s lawyer is not among the critics. “I usually represent outlaws and criminals,” defense attorney Donn Baker told the Muskogee Phoenix. “This is a kid that made a mistake. I think he’s worth saving.”

In the courtroom this week, an emotional scene between the victim’s family and Alred played out after statements from Dum’s mother, father and two sisters were read during the sentencing. Dum’s father and Alred stood up in court, turned toward each other and embraced one another.

“At that moment, it sure became a reality to me that I would sentence this boy to church” to help set him on the right path, Norman, a member of First Baptist Church in Muskogee, said. “There’s nothing I can do to make this up to the family."

“I told my preacher I thought I led more people to Jesus than he had but, then again, more of my people have amnesia. They soon forget once they get out of jail.”

After completing the rest of the requirements in his sentence, Alred will have the charge removed from his record.

“Only time will tell if we’ve saved Tyler Alred’s life,” the judge said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


South Carolina Woman Sues Bar For Paralyzing Car Accident

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BLUFFTON, S.C.) -- A South Carolina woman is suing a bar that served her alcohol as a minor the night she had a car accident that left her paralyzed.

Chelsea Hess, 22, is also suing the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County for negligence for allegedly not maintaining the road shoulder she drove her car over in her accident.

Hess was 20 years old on Aug. 8, 2009 when she went to Jock's Sports Grill in Beaumont, S.C. for a game of billiards, according to her lawsuit.

She alleged that she ordered an alcoholic drink at the bar and was served without being asked for her identification. The legal drinking age in South Carolina is 21.

Hess accused the bar of several forms of negligence, including failure to "request and examine proof of identification," serving alcohol to minors, and "failing to ascertain whether Plaintiff was impaired by the consumption of alcoholic beverages at the time Plaintiff purchased the alcoholic beverage."

At about 1:05 a.m., Hess left the bar driving her own car and had a serious accident.

As a result, Hess "suffered serious, permanently debilitating injuries causing the plaintiff to be paraplegic." She blames the accident on the bar.

"The accident that resulted in Plaintiff being a paraplegic was due to and proximately caused by the negligence, recklessness, and willfulness and gross negligence of Defendant Jock's Sports Grill," the lawsuit said.

Hess is also suing the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the town of Bluffton and Beaufort County for negligence.

Hess alleges that the Department of Transportation was negligent "in having actual knowledge of the defect in the subject road shoulder and in failing to remedy the defect which was a dangerous situation for the Plaintiff and other similarly situated persons."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


20-Year-Old Babysitter Arrested for Sexual Assault of 14-Year-Old

(Comstock/ThinkstockSOUTHINGTON, Conn.) -- It has been reported that at 20-year-old babysitter from Clinton, already facing charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in that town, now faces similar charges in Southington, CT.

Southington police were contacted by Clinton authorities on June 30 and a warrant was issued for Loni Bouchard's arrest. She turned herself into Southington police on July 29th. It is said she's had sexual relations with a boy “known to her,” but no more information is known until court records are released with the victims names removed.

Clinton police charged Bouchard with second degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a child, and illegal purchase of liquor according to court documents.

The arrest came after a three month investigation into an alleged sexual assault with a 14-year-old boy she was hired to babysit a month ago. She allegedly had sexual relations with the boy after having illegally served him alcohol.

It remains unclear whether the two incidents involve the same boy.

Bouchard has been released after posting a $1,000 bond following arraignment and is due back in court to face charges next week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas' New Approach Tames Animal House Frats

Photo Courtesy -- University of Texas(AUSTIN, Texas) – After the deaths of two students, the University of Texas has turned to prevention education to tackle hazing.

Four years ago this month, Tyler Cross, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity pledge at the University of Texas, fell five stories from a dorm room window, dying upon impact. He was 18 years old and had a blood-alcohol content twice the legal limit.
The previous year, a Lambda Phi Epsilon pledge, Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath, was found dead with a blood-alcohol level of 0.41.

Law enforcement and university officials labeled both tragedies, while accidental, a result of hazing.

The umbrella of hazing includes not only drinking in excess, but many things students may not normally consider - personal servitude, partial nudity, calisthenics, eating contests and uncomfortable clothes, to name a few.

At UT, administrators and student organizations are working together to educate groups on how to run and develop their clubs and groups in a safe way.

This fall is the second full year for the "mutual agreement program," which begins after a fraternity, sorority or other university organization has violated the state's anti-hazing law. The program establishes a process, a sort of probationary period, during which the organization is re-evaluated, its members educated and is brought back into compliance without suffering severe penalties.
So far, 19 organizations have entered into this program, which was developed under the instruction of university president Bill Powers, who took office in 2006, the year Cross died.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


For Duke Students, No More Tailgates

Courtesy - Dukedotedu(DURHAM, N.C.) – Duke University has cancelled future student tailgating before football games after an underage teen was found unconscious in a portable toilet, according to local ABC affiliate WTVD.
Duke University officials say the incident, which occurred prior to Saturday’s game against Virginia, came in the wake of growing concerns over previous behavior during tailgates.

"This incident has vividly revealed that tailgate as is practiced at Duke must come to an end," said Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs, in an e-mail to students.

The school will re-evaluate the new tailgate policy before next year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Spiked Drinks, Overdoses Send 12 to Hospital; Women Targeted?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ROSYLN, Wash.) -- At least 12 students and teens were rushed to the hospital late Friday after police busted an off-campus party near Central Washington University.

The discovery of an unconscious woman in a grocery store parking lot led police to a house party where they say a number of individuals – mostly women – overdosed after being served spiked drinks.

A man was arrested when cops found him sexually assaulting a semi-conscious woman in a back bedroom.

Police are investigating whether the women were targeted for sexual assault.

Approximately 50 people attended the gathering. All were underage.

Detectives continue to investigate the source of the spiked drinks and said more arrests are possible.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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