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Parents arrested for serving alcohol to minors

TICONDEROGA Two parents have been arrested after police broke up an alleged under-age drinking party in Chilson. Anthony OHara, 39, and his wife, Maria OHara, 38, of 222 Putts Pond Road have each been charged with 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, 11 counts of unlawfully dealing with a child, a Class A misdemeanor, and one count of criminal nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor. The couple is scheduled to appear in Ticonderoga town court Nov. 12 to answer the charges. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in prison. Ticonderoga police officer Mike LaVallie responded to an anonymous tip of an alleged under-age drinking party at the Putts Pond Road location at about 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. Assisted by Ti PD Sgt. Mark Johns and New York State Police, LaVallie discovered 12 children ages 14-16 allegedly consuming alcohol. Two of the children had to be transported by the Ticonderoga Ambulance Squad to Moses-Ludington Hospital, suffering from alcohol-related illness. They were treated and later released. Police declined to identify the children involved. The investigation is continuing, Johns stressed, and more charges are possible possibly against the children involved. Wed especially like to thank Capt (John) Tibbitts of the New York State Police, District Attorney Julie Garcia and the public for their assistance in this investigation, Johns said. Without the tip we may not have known this incident was taking place. Johns said Ti PD regularly responds to complaints of under-age drinking. Its a very routine call, he said. At least once every two weeks our department receives a complaint of under-age drinking. People should know, we do respond and we do make arrests. Johns noted the alleged party took place the day after Putnam teen Dustin St. Andrews was sentenced to state prison. St. Andrews, age 16, was driving a car in April that crashed, killing Shannon James of Ticonderoga and Michaella K. Mika Lopes of Enosburg, Vt. Both were 16 years old. Two other passengers were injured. St. Andrews pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular manslaughter, a felony, after Washington County prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges against him. Charges are still pending against St. Andrews parents, who are accused of allowing their son to host parties that served alcohol, including one in the hours before the crash. His mother, Kelli St. Andrews, 39, faces 17 misdemeanors, while his father, Jimmy Joe St. Andrews, 41, faces 14 misdemeanors. They have pleaded not guilty and are to stand trial beginning Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, respectively. LaVallie urged the public to report under-age drinking. All tips are confidential and anonymous, he said. We take every tip very seriously, he said. If the public knows of under-age drinking I guarantee we will investigate and take appropriate action. It could save a life. Kristi Mars of the Connecting Youth and Communities program believes the Oct. 18 tip did save a life. Our youth are youth, she said. Theyre going to make mistakes. Its up to adults to take care of them. When a parent gives alcohol to a child its so detrimental. In this case the police showed up because of a tip, she added. I believe one boy is alive today because of it.

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