BU students land in jail after raucous Allston parties
The first party drew a crowd of 200, and when Boston police arrived, revelers raced back inside the house on Linden Street in Allston, turned down the music, and flipped off lights. Officers were not fooled. When they made it inside, officers saw scattered empty liquor bottles and smelled marijuana, according to police.
That party, thrown last September, earned its four alleged hosts, all Boston University students, one charge each of keeping a disorderly house. They were put on pretrial probation, police said, and were told that if they stayed out of trouble, all would be forgiven.
But four months later came the second party. When police arrived around 1 a.m., partiers slammed the door in officers’ faces and locked it, police said. Scores of people, many underage, began pouring out doors and windows. When police did get in, they found more than 1,000 beer cans.
This time, the alleged hosts got jail time.
“It gets to the point you have to say enough is enough,” said Boston police Sergeant Michael O’Hara, who responded to the second party and said that the apartment was in shambles and set up for drinking games. “These kids were given every opportunity, and they blew it.”
O’Hara said the four students — Michael Oldcorn, 20; John Pavia, 20; Sawyer Petric, 19, and Terry Bartrug, 20 — have been at Nashua Street Jail since Tuesday night, when Judge David Donnelly revoked their bail for violating their probation. They are due back in Brighton District Court Friday.
Attorneys for the men did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
As raucous parties go, said O’Hara, these two were in “the top 10 percent.” Still, he said, the jail time is unusual.
“But they’re not being put in jail for being a keeper of a disorderly house,” he said. “They’re being put in jail because of the fact that they violated the probation. . . . That’s a serious offense. That’s an affront to the court.”
Partygoers at the January bash told police that the house was used by a BU fraternity, “Z.B.T.”, according to the police report. The fraternity president declined to comment Thursday.
Boston University spokesman Colin Riley said he could not comment on individual students.
“We expect our students to be good neighbors and respect the laws,” he said.
Two other residents in the house were charged in connection with the second party, O’Hara said. Charges against one, who was asleep, were dropped.
A man at the house at 85 Linden St. declined to speak with a reporter late Thursday afternoon. The yard was strewn with trash, an overturned armchair sat in the driveway, and a cardboard box labeled “mail” was duct-taped next to the front door.
“I’m not really much of a party person,” said Alan Koh, 23, a BU law student who lives next door. “I guess I’m regretting moving here.”
His windows face 85 Linden, he said, and sometimes the noise of partygoers and the blue lights from police cars annoy him late at night. Luckily, he said, he keeps late hours, so it does not bother him too much.
Other neighbors said they had not even noticed the parties that got the hosts in trouble.
“On Friday and Saturday nights, it’s not uncommon, really, to see a bunch of drunk people stumbling around,” said Alex Baycora, 23, who lives on Linden. “It’s a pretty popular street.”
The house is one of about 63 on the Boston Police Department’s “Party Call Hotsheet,” O’Hara said, because it regularly receives noise complaints, though before last fall, he said, it was different students causing the trouble.
The Allston-Brighton area, he said, has the highest concentration of college students in the city, and landlords often pack more tenants than are legally allowed into homes to make extra rent money. Loud parties are a constant annoyance.
“You put all those kids into the house, it deteriorates the house,” said O’Hara.
“Nobody’s taking care of them. The houses become worn down, beat up, old. You walk down the street, there’s red Solo cups all over the place.”
Sometimes the density can be dangerous: Next door to 85 Linden stands the burned-out shell of an apartment where a fire last May claimed the life of Binland Lee, 22.
Nineteen people lived in that building, despite a city ordinance that prohibits more than four unrelated undergraduate students from sharing a dwelling.
In 2012, O’Hara said, when he took over as community service supervisor at District 14 in Brighton, he and his officers came up with a plan to track houses with lots of complaints.
Now, residents who attract loud-party complaints are usually asked to perform 30 hours of community service in the Allston-Brighton area in exchange for dismissal of the complaint. A second offense, however, will result in partiers going before a judge, said O’Hara.
The tenants at 85 Linden St. were charged right away, he said, because of the scale of the first party.
“The residents who have been affected by these kids like the program,” he said.
“They like to see the kids giving back, instead of just paying a $100 fine and walking out the door. These kids have no problem writing a check.”
The program, he said, seems to be working: 911 calls for loud parties on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in Allston and Brighton have dropped by half, from 46 to 50 calls to 20 to 26 calls.
O’Hara said this was the first time he has seen partiers jailed.
“These kids kind of left the court and the judge no other angle,” he said.