Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

2 Saugus school teachers were convicted of providing alcohol to students

police-arrest101A Peabody District Court jury found two Saugus public school teachers guilty of providing alcohol to minors at a house party.

John, 52, and Josephine Penza, 55, were home during a party at their house in 2013, with around 70 minors, including a 16-year-old girl who was transported to hospital due to intoxication. Police said they also found empty alcohol containers, and a table set up for a drinking game, according to a press release from the Office of the Essex Assistant District Attorney.

According to testimony at trial, Josephine Penza told the 16-year-old to tell police she was suffering from food poisoning.

The pair were sentenced to nine months in the Middlesex House of Correction, with 30 days to be served and the balance suspended for two years. They must also remain drug and alcohol free during that time, and perform 50 hours of community service each.

“We remind parents and guardians that if your child is under 21 and is caught having a party where there is alcohol, you could face charges under the state’s Social Host Law,” Saugus Police Chief Domenic DiMella said. “Do not be tempted to allow your son or daughter to have friends over to drink, especially during the holidays or end of the year celebrations.”

The Penza’s attorney, Francis O’Brien, declined to comment.

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