Judge: Parents Are to Blame for Teens Boozing in Their Home
The couple says they were unaware of the underage drinking bash but took a plea deal that included supervision and community service.
A Cook County judge reprimanded a Tinley couple on Thursday that was accused of hosting an underage drinking bash on New Year’s Eve, saying he saw through the pair's attempt to deflect blame.
William and Kimberly Opferman of the 8100 block of Valley View Drive entered into a deal with the state in which they “stipulated” to the facts of the case but left the issue of culpability to the court.
Judge John Hynes found the couple guilty of unlawfully allowing a minor to become intoxicated and sentenced each of them to 12 months of supervision, 80 hours of community service and $280 each in fines and costs.
Tinley Park police arrived at the Opfermans' house around 10:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve to investigate a noise complaint. They reported seeing a girl rushing into the back of the home with a beer can. An officer who approached the front door said he heard a male voice telling everyone to hide downstairs because the cops had shown up.
Once inside, officers found a boy in the laundry room, dazed and lying in his own vomit, and as many as 30 other teens—some of whom had ducked into a crawl space— in the basement alongside beer cans and a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka.
“I will definitely never have a party again at my house,” Kimberly Opferman told the court.
The couple and their attorney, Frank Carey, contended that, in a very short span of time, several teenagers acquainted with their high school daughter must have snuck in through the basement window well with alcohol.
“In a sense (the Opfermans) were responsible for what happened in their home, but in another sense they were the victims because they were taken advantage of,” Carey said.
In contrast, assistant state’s attorney John Kopp described the scene, as relayed by police officers, as “egregious." He said the couple had violated the trust of other parents whose children had been drinking.
He noted that the blood-alcohol level of at least one boy registered 0.22, which is nearly three times the legal limit for driving adults.
Hynes, noting that he is a father himself, said the Opfermans' version of events was “hard to believe.” But whether or not the liquor flowed unwittingly, the judge told the couple he had hoped for “more contrition out of both of you.”
“I’m a little taken back at you blaming the kids,” he said. “It’s your house. You’re responsible for it … Thank God no one was seriously hurt.”
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