A prominent New York dentist and his wife are facing jail and ruin after hosting a New Year's Eve party for friends of their teenage daughter.
Paul and Christine Taxin each face a year in jail for allowing underage drinking at their home. In the US, the legal age for consuming alcohol is 21.
But locals have come to the defence of the Taxins, saying the middle class couple were simply trying to keep high-spirited teens safe and under control.
"It's ridiculous for those parents to get into this much trouble," said Jon Soloff, 17, who was at the party. It was New Year's Eve. The police are lucky it was in a house with parents and not in cars or in a park."
But police and prosecutors insist they had a duty to prevent underage drinking. "Underage drinking anywhere leads to assaults, rapes and traffic deaths," said Westchester district attorney Jeanine Pirro.
The party was hosted at the Taxins' home in the upmarket suburb of Scarsdale, about 30 miles north of Manhattan.
Police were called to the cul-de-sac when some of the 50 revelling youngsters spilled on to the street, which is dotted with well-kept lawns and posh cars. Police chief John Kapica said: "It was a chaotic scene, and we're fortunate that no one got hurt."Reuse content