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)

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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

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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:

sdolan@pressherald.com

 

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

mbyrne@pressherald.com

 

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Additional Photos

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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

20130208_MOS_TeenDrinking
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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

 


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