February 8, 2013

Court of public opinion split on Falmouth party case

But it's more important for parents to prevent tragedy than to uphold their sense of acceptance by teen children, Mainers say.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

On Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013, Barry and Paula Spencer hug with joy after hearing the jury was deadlocked with the verdict resulting in a mistrial. Like the jury, public opinion on the case is split.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

On Friday, Feb. 08, 2013, Ned Chester talks about teen drinking and the parent's responsibility to stop it.

Gordon Chibroski

Additional Photos Below

Parents should notify police and neighbors before a party starts, recruit other adults to keep a close eye on party-goers, and patrol vigilantly for alcohol, she said.

"You don't want to be the 'Debbie Downer,' who says 'You can't do this, you can't do that,'" she said.

But it's far more important for parents to prevent the possible alternatives -- arrests, injuries or even deaths -- than preserve their sense of acceptance by their teenage children.

Considering the $17,000 the Spencers were ordered to pay because of what began as a party for the Falmouth High School baseball team, she said, "Wouldn't it have been more productive to hire a comedian or a band?"

Rick Biskup of Freeport, who has a 27-year-old daughter, said he wouldn't be in such a situation.

"I didn't believe in opening up the premises to all manner of people ... to come kind of uncontrolled," he said.

Biskup said he also was careful when his daughter went out to parties as a teenager.

"The drill was then, 'Honey, you're going to a party. Great. Why don't you give me the name and number of the parents,'" Biskup said. "It worked very well."

Biskup said he knows only what he read in the news about the Spencers' trial.

But, he said, "I'm sure they learned a major lesson, and that's the best we can do. ... I can't imagine any parents would want to be under the public scrutiny like this couple was."


Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:



Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:



Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

On Friday, Feb. 08, 2013, Rick Biskup from Freeport talks about his daughters time in high school and what he did to keep her safe from drinking parties.

Gordon Chibroski

click image to enlarge

On Friday, February 08, 2013, Alexis Dawkins, 25, Portland, and Andrei Atanasiu, 28, of South Portland, talk about the Falmouth party case. "At least parents were there," Atanasiu said. "I don't feel the parents should be held responsible at all."

Gordon Chibroski


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)