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Metro

Arlington seeks charges in underage drinking

Arlington police said they will seek charges in connection with a party at former selectwoman Annie LaCourt’s home Friday night in which they said 21 teenagers were drinking ­alcohol.

Arlington police Captain Richard Flynn said the department will file criminal complaints in Cambridge District Court asking that LaCourt and her husband, Mark Burstein, each be charged with 33 counts of furnishing alcohol to a person under 21 and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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Flynn said he expects the paper­work for the criminal complaints to be filed at the District Court, located in ­Medford, Tuesday morning.

A magistrate will then determine whether there is probable cause to charge the couple.

Police said a total of 33 under­age people were at ­LaCourt’s home at 48 Chatham St. Friday night around 10 p.m. Police said 21 of the underage people had been drinking, includ­ing one who was “fall-down drunk,” said Flynn. The people were all 17 years old, ­except for three who were 16, police said.

LaCourt and Burstein were home and knew about the party, Flynn said.

Police discovered a similar party at the couple’s home in June 2009, but not to the extent of Friday’s party. No charges were filed, Flynn said.

The police captain said the underage teens found to be drinking will be offered the chance to participate in a program for first-time offenders.

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Charges will be sought for the party Friday because police said LaCourt and Burstein ­allowed people under age 21 ­access to alcoholic beverages in violation of state law.

Flynn said the underage people found to be drinking at the party will face criminal charges or will be offered the chance to participate in a juvenile diversion program for first-time offenders.

LaCourt declined to comment to a reporter Monday when reached by phone. She served seven years on the Board of Selectmen before deciding not to seek reelection in the spring. Burstein could not be reached for comment.

Flynn said Arlington police had officers out Friday night working to stop underage drinking.

An Arlington High School football game where ­police were going to be working was rained out, and police ­observed a group of underage people walking out of LaCourt’s home carrying red plastic cups. The group walked to the playground at the nearby Stratton School, where police discovered that everyone in the group was intoxicated, Flynn said.

When police went to ­LaCourt’s home, they found more underage people who had been drinking, Flynn said, and brought them all outside.

Police administered Breathalyzer tests for all of the teen­agers, and found that 21 had ­alcohol in their system. Police called in a fire and rescue unit to evaluate one person who was drunk, and they also called the parents of the teenagers to come and pick them up.

“That was job one, to make sure that the kids got home safe and sound,” Flynn said. Flynn said police do not know who provided the alcohol. He said none of the teenagers admitted to bringing beer to the home.

Brock Parker can be reached at brock.globe@gmail.com.
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