John and Josephine Penza of Saugus were found guilty of furnishing alcohol to minors by a jury in the Peabody District Court.The Penzas, both teachers, will have to serve a month in jail and be on probation for 2 years. The couple will also have to remain drug and alcohol free with random tests and perform 50 hours of community service.
According to the Essex County District Attorney the Penzas were home in August 2013 when there two children ages 20 and 18 hosted a party. Police later responded to the home for a noise complaint. There they found over 70 kids drinking. The Penza’s claimed a 16 year old girl who had to be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning had food poisoning.
Josephine Penza is an elementary school teacher while her husband John is a high school teacher.
It is illegal for any parent or guardian to turn on blind eye on what goes on in their house. Parents or guardians can be charged criminally in Massachusetts under what is called a the Massachusetts Social Host Law. Allowing underage people to drink or adults to become highly intoxicated can lead to criminal penalties including jail.
The Essex County District Attorney praised the sentence saying it highlighted the seriousness of the crime and sent a message that allowing underage drinking would not be tolerated.
Patrick Donovan is a Massachusetts criminal attorney and a former prosecutor. Attorney Donovan has appeared in over fifty courts in Massachusetts.