LJWorld.com weblogs Lawrence in the News

House party trial to begin for parents of KU student


¢ The child endangerment and obstruction of justice trial for parents of a KU student is set to begin this week in Lake County, Ill., according to the [Lake County News-Sun][1].Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell are accused of allowing their underage son, Jonathan, to host a drinking party at their home last October. After attending the party, two teens were killed in a car accident that police linked to alcohol, marijuana and excessive speed.The charges against Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell include failure to control access to their home and providing alcohol to persons younger than 21. The obstruction of justice charge is based on their allegedly destroying evidence including alcohol containers, and providing police with false information on their son's whereabouts.¢ Andy Marks, a KU baseball player, pitched a no-hitter Monday for his summer team, the Duluth Hiskies of the Northwoods League, a member of the Summer Collegiate Baseball Association. Details are in today's [St. Coud (Minn.) Times][2]. [1]: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/news/470648,5_1_WA17_HUTSELL_S1.article [2]: http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070717/SPORTS/107170007/1002


costello 10 years, 11 months ago

"They allegedly allowed their 18-year-old son, Jonathan, to host a drinking party at their home .... Twice earlier last year, in Feburary and July, had had been convicted of underage drinking, and was sentenced both times to court supervision and public service work."

Why would parents allow their underage child - who has two previous convictions for underage drinking - host a drinking party in their home? I don't understand doing this even if he hadn't had the two convictions, but wouldn't you especially encourage him to stay on the straight and narrow if he'd already been in trouble for this very thing?

And now two other families have lost their sons.

irishdevil99 10 years, 11 months ago

There's a school of thought that if you know your kid's going to drink anyway, it's better to let him do it at home than let him go somewhere else to drink and possibly end up driving home drunk. I can't totally fault them for that.

Of course, if you decide to go this route, you'd darned well better make sure you're not letting anybody ELSE drive home drunk, either.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 11 months ago

Most parents that I've met who let their kids drink and buy them alcohol want to be considered the "cool" parent. They don't set limits for their kids, and want to be one of the guys. They always come out with statistics about how so many kids drink, but the percent is still about 50/50. Which means not all kids drink. Maybe their parents aren't afraid of being the parent.

Centrist 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree with dorothyhr. Just because we were crazy kids doesn't mean we shouldn't set an example for our own. I grew up in an alcoholic home and know full well the dangers of excesses in alcohol, drugs, etc. I am the only one left in my family who isn't a drunk, a druggie, or dead. Sure, I still enjoy a drink, but only in moderation. I really do well with that aspect.

Parents need to realize their kids are supposed to remain kids ... right up until they turn 18 (or 21, depending on viewpoint). Childhood is SO precious, even for adolescents. There's no way my son is having a beer with me until he he's old enough - period. He will be advised all the way, about how to say "no" to others, until that time.

I hope that enough people learn from these tragic mistakes in judgment.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 11 months ago

Maybe these stats from Lake County site will say something

Pay particular attention to the last Four lines - Income....... Whilst JoCo's median household income (if Wikipedia is to be believed) is "The median income for a household in the county was $61,455,"

*   Population 644,356
* Caucasian 80.1%
* African American 6.9%
* Asian 3.9%
* Other 7.0%
* Two or more races 2%
* Hispanic/Latino (may be of any race) 14.4%
* Median household income:
      o Lake County $66,973
      o Chicago $38,625
      o Illinois $46,590
      o U.S. $41,994

LakeCo link: http://www.co.lake.il.us/about/quickfacts.asp JoCo link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_County,_Kansas#Demographics

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree with some of the sentiments of Dorothy and Centrist, but not at the black and white assessment of tacit compliance or lack thereof in a kid's experience in drinking. Having a role model to show the practice of moderation would be, I think, a valuable asset in a kid's development, and would likely save the growing pains associated with suddenly being able to consume out of anyone's protecting eyes but their own peers, who are always in the same boat with them. Of course, moderation in terms of kids and moderation in terms of adults would be on two different standards, realistically speaking.

Although, Centrist, I disagree completely with two points. First, the assumption that there is some magic age and POOF you are no longer a kid. No matter how you look at it other than pure legality, it's a ridiculous notion. Are we to say, then, that a 17 and 364/365th year old is a child, and that extra day somehow manages to form them into adults? It's foolish to think in such absolute terms.

And childhood is not precious, nor is innocence. It's another state of being, but one with no inherent value. Myself, I wouldn't go back to being a kid again for anything. I think, largely, such thinking is the refracted hind-sight of people burdened with paying bills and supporting their own family. Tough jobs to be sure, but I'd still take them any day of the week over navigating the hormones, social trials and petty hatreds of a regular day in middle and high-school.

You, of course, don't have to agree with any of this. My point is simply that such thinking is not in itself an absolute, and should not be considered as such.

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and the parents should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It is clear that they were practicing neither control nor moderation, and something tells me that they did not ask any of the other kid's parents what THEIR thoughts were on their children being in such a non-controlled environment.

Too much tacit consent is a bad thing, for sure.

davisnin 10 years, 11 months ago

Put 'em away, these parents were/are idiots. Its not like this kinda thing hasn't been in the news before or is surprising in the least.

Keith 10 years, 11 months ago

The real fun will begin when the criminal trial is over and that will be the civil trial. They had better hope their insurer doesn't abandon them.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.