A 38-year-old Fairfield woman charged with allowing a group of teens to drink alcohol during a party outside her home Saturday night said in an interview Monday that she didn’t know they were sneaking beer while her back was turned.
But Fairfield police said there was enough evidence to issue a summons to the homeowner, Chrystal Mushero.
On Saturday at about 10 p.m., three Fairfield police officers responded to an anonymous tip that children were drinking alcohol at Mushero’s Oakland Road residence, according to Chief Tom Gould.
“Several juveniles fled when officers arrived but others remained,” Gould said. “Officers interviewed several juveniles who admitted that they had been drinking on the property.”
Mushero said the gathering was meant to be mostly family, with only a few friends of her 18-year-old daughter, who graduated from Lawrence High School last month.
She said several young people who had not been invited showed up and that some of them had already been drinking.
“I furnished no alcohol for anybody,” she said. “There were no kids drinking while I was outside. How they got the alcohol here, I don’t know.”
The teens drank some while she went into the house to put her younger children to bed, she said.
Mushero said she is opposed to consumption of alcohol by minors and condemned the youths who were drinking and said the incident was blown out of proportion.
A sign in front of the residence Monday advertises “Chrystal’s Day Care,” however Mushero said she is not providing day care services.
Gould said he expects additional charges will be announced within the next week, possibly against a combination of juveniles and adults.
“They did allow the sober kids who had not had any alcohol to drive off,” he said. “They did not allow anyone who admitted drinking or having consumed to drive.”
Gould said no one was visibly drunk.
He said evidence shows there is probable cause that Mushero did know the drinking was happening.
“Officers were provided with Facebook photos allegedly taken during the party,” he said. Gould said the pictures seem to show that minors were openly in possession of alcohol in her presence.
“She denied having any knowledge that the juveniles had alcohol,” he said. “However, judging from Facebook posts and the case file I’ve seen, I feel she understood there was consumption going on.”
The incident has created a stir within the community, with both the police department and the town office receiving calls from parents of children who had attended the party.
“The parents of the kids involved are very upset this took place and they want this investigated,” Gould said.
Town Manager Josh Reny said he believes the calls are a positive sign of parents who are genuinely concerned about the safety of their children and opposed to underage drinking.
Mushero was summoned on a charge of furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol, a Class D crime punishable by up to 364 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine, according to the office of the Maine Attorney General.
She is scheduled to appear in Skowhegan District Court at 1 p.m. on Aug. 13.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at firstname.lastname@example.org