Teen son of R.I. governor may face criminal charge
PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island attorney general’s office said Thursday it is deciding whether to bring criminal charges after an 18-year-old woman was hospitalized last month following a party hosted by the son of Governor Lincoln Chafee.
State Police investigated and sought to speak with Chafee’s son Caleb after the Memorial Day party in Exeter. Caleb Chafee, 18, is a recent graduate of Portsmouth Abbey School, a Catholic Benedictine high school.
State Police had not brought charges by Thursday, said Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. ‘‘Our office will review and work with the Rhode Island State Police to determine what, if any, charges are brought,’’ Kempe said.
The police investigation was first reported Wednesday by WPRO-AM. A police report, which had not been released by the police, was posted on the radio station’s website. It said Caleb Chafee asked the woman to leave after she became ill. She was treated for alcohol poisoning at Kent County Hospital in Warwick, the report said.
The property where the party took place is owned by Wee Hoose Farm LLC, according to the Exeter assessors’ office. Chafee’s wife, Stephanie, is listed on state records as the manager of the limited liability company.
‘‘Stephanie and I are very upset,’’ the governor said Thursday.
He noted that the party is under investigation and called it a ‘‘private matter.’’ He said he was not at the Exeter property when the party took place, and Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, the State Police superintendent, said the governor is not part of the inquiry.
Caleb Chafee declined to speak with investigators at the Chafee home in Warwick at the instruction of his lawyer, O’Donnell said. Attorney Peter A. DiBiase did not immediately return a message Thursday.
Caleb Chafee pleaded no contest last month to accusations that he tried to buy beer at a Jamestown liquor store in April. A judge fined him $100, which has been paid. A hearing was scheduled May 29 for Caleb Chafee to ask for the case to be expunged from his record, but a state court spokesman said he could not comment on whether the record was expunged.
O’Donnell said the police report posted on WPRO-AM’s website is accurate, but an internal investigation has been launched to determine how the report became public. He said the report is not a public record because no criminal charges have been filed.
The police report said Caleb Chafee asked the woman and her friends to leave after she started vomiting. It also said Caleb Chafee ‘‘told us to call 911 only after we were off his property.’’
A female classmate who attended the party told State Police she drank Bud Light and raspberry-flavored vodka. She said she did not know who provided the alcohol. The classmate told police the woman who fell ill was throwing up into buckets and trash cans and was carried to a car because she could not walk, the report said.
The sickened woman was removed from the front passenger seat of a car by rescuers at the intersection of Route 102 and Town Hall Road in Exeter after the classmate called 911, the report said. The classmate also told investigators she waited to call 911 until after leaving the Chafee property.
The classmate received a call from Caleb Chafee, who told her his attorney was on his way to her home and instructed her to ‘‘plead the fifth,’’ the report said. The report said the classmate told the younger Chafee that his attorney was not welcome and that she planned to speak with authorities.