Damascus dad, son cited in alleged drinking party
Case among first under enhanced penalties for repeat offenders
A Damascus man charged last year for enabling underage drinking was cited again on Sunday, becoming among the first in the county to receive a citation for providing alcohol to a minor under a new law that increases penalties for repeat offenders.
George Barberi, 42, of the unit block of Newbury Court and his son Robert, 18, were issued citations early Sunday morning for furnishing alcohol to minors. Since George Barberi pleaded guilty to similar charges in connection with a party at his home in August 2007, he faces a $5,000 fine under a law that took effect Oct. 1, said Lucille Baur, spokeswoman for Montgomery County Police.
"There was absolutely no underage drinking party taking place at this house," Rene Sandler, the Barberis' attorney, said Tuesday. "The fact charges have been brought and police targeted this family will be fully litigated when we get a trial date and a judge will make a determination."
Police were called to the Barberi home about 12:45 a.m. by neighbors complaining about the noise from a loud party, Baur said.
When they arrived they found teenagers and adults with beer bottles in their hands around an outdoor fire pit and more guests partying in the house, said Capt. Thomas C. Didone, commander of the 5th Police District.
Four of the dozen or so partygoers were underage, including Barberi's son, Baur said. Since parents may legally give their children alcohol in their own home, no citations were issued for the son's drinking; however, Barberi and his son were issued citations for furnishing alcohol to the other three minors at the party. The minors were cited for alcohol possession, Didone said.
The Barberis contend there were no underage drinkers at the party.
"We absolutely deny there was an underage drinking party taking place at this house," Sandler said. "To our knowledge no one was underage …. There was no underage individual consuming alcohol at the property. No alcohol was furnished to minors."
In August 2007, police were called to the Barberi house for the report of loud noise from a party, Officer Bill Morrison of the Alcohol Enforcement Unit said at the time. Police were denied entry to the house, so they walked around the house and peeked in the windows, he said. In the back of the house they found a teenage girl in the basement alone, unconscious and lying in her own vomit, he said.
Police found a key outside the house and let themselves in. Another teenager at the party was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.19, according to Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Michalski, who prosecuted the case.
George and his wife, Alison, 42, were issued numerous citations following the party.
She pleaded guilty to one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor, a civil citation, last October and was fined the maximum penalty of $1,000. She also was given 48 hours of community service.
George Barberi pleaded guilty in January to one count of allowing underage possession and consumption of alcohol and was fined $750, according to an online court database.
Alison Barberi has not been charged in connection with this weekend's party, though detectives are still investigating, Baur said. If detectives find she was home during the party, she could be issued a citation, Baur said.