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Norwell mother faces 'Social Host' charges

Posted by Lisa Crowley  July 29, 2009 08:50 AM

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A Norwell woman facing charges that she let teenagers drink alcohol at her house said she wants the police's help to control her son and his friends.

"I'm glad police came to the house," said Susan Dematteo of Shrine Road. "I'm having trouble controlling my son's friends. He's not a leader. He's a follower, and I can't control his friends."

Deputy Chief John Suurhans said Dematteo will be summonsed to Hingham District Court at a future date.

The case began when police allegedly found teenagers—one passed out in the backyard—drinking at her home. Police have charged her with furnishing alcohol to a person under 21. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

In a telephone interview, Dematteo said she understands she is facing the charges and will take the hit, but hopes to get help with her son and his friends. "I want their help. I want police involved. It was pretty bad," she said.

Police went to the home after receiving a complaint about a loud party at about 11:45 p.m. Monday night. Police said that when they arrived at the house, some of the guests at the party fled, but a 17-year-old male answered the door.

Police said they asked the boy if there was underage drinking going on and if a parent was home, and the boy answer "yes" to both questions. Police said that in the backyard, officers found a 17-year-old male “passed out” in a lawn chair with a bag of empty beer cans next to him.

The Scituate Fire Department was called and the boy was transported to South Shore Hospital because authorities said he was “extremely intoxicated.”

Suurhans said the party began when Dematteo’s son invited some friends over, and added: "It is against the law for you to serve alcohol to underage guests or to allow them to consume alcohol in your home."

He added, "Under the Social Host Law, you can be held financially responsible if your child or guest injures or kills another person after you permit your child or guest to drink alcohol in your home or other property you control,” he said.

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4 comments so far...
  1. This is completely over exaggerated, there was no party. The boy that was passed out is a raging alcoholic and passes out every night no matter were he is. this is a perfect example of how the media makes things worse then they actually are.

    Posted by Some Guy July 30, 09 12:46 PM
  1. I figure that "Tough Love" would require that Mom should have called the police herself - to protect her reckless son & his buddies - as well as herself. Still, it's understandable how a single parent can be overwhelmed by an acting-out adolescent, & I hope she gets the support & counseling she needs to become a more-effective parent, rather than just a concerned bystander. A big fine by itself, is likely to just put more stress on that household without serving any constructive purpose...

    Good luck, Ms. Dematteo -- This out-of-control 17 year-old kid probably didn't just appear overnight, & you now only have a year or less to regain his respect, before he can legally thumb his nose at you, & you'll no longer be able to protect him from the legal consequences of his actions by "taking the hit" for him...

    Posted by deltaman July 31, 09 06:23 AM
  1. Um, underage drinking to the point of passing out is "exaggerated" and "is the media making things worse than they actually are"?!? Sounds bad to me no matter what kind of light you try to shine on it. Underage drinking IS underage drinking. Any of those kids could have seriously injured or killed themselves or someone else! Make them, and the host, responsible! It is ILLEGAL to drink under the age of 21, yes it happens but don't forget who's pouring the alcohol down their own throats, call them on it and hopefully they will learn a lesson rather than just getting away with it again and again.

    Posted by Mob August 3, 09 12:44 PM
  1. If the reasoning goes that "Any of those kids could have been seriously injured or killed themselves or someone else", than why shouldn't alcohol be banned completely, even for adults? The US is one of the only countries in the world, along with countries like Yemen, that has a 21 drinking age. The rest of the Western World realizes the healthiest way to teach adolescents about alcohol is not to simply ban it and make it a forbidden fruit. Excessive drinking, such as may have occured here, is what happens when alcohol laws are completely unreasonable and ineffective.

    Posted by Tim August 3, 09 04:20 PM