PARENT ARRESTED FOR ALLOWING TEENAGE DRINKING
IN HIS HOME SAYS HE WOULD DO IT AGAIN TO PREVENT
KIDS FROM DRIVING DRUNK -- "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
A Rhode Island father who allowed his son and his friends to get drunk in his home and was arrested for it would do it again to save kids from driving drunk. Bill Anderson and his wife Pat, speak out in support of drink-and-sleepover teen parties for a Lesley Stahl report on the controversial trend to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, April 17 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"Absolutely, [I would allow teens to get drunk and sleep at my home again]," says Anderson. "I would prefer if [teens] didn't drink. However, if they're going to drink, my role as a parent is to ensure that my kids grow up ready for life...that they grow up," he tells Stahl. "If your kids die in a drunk-driving accident, you don't have that option."
The Andersons saw a potential drunk-driving problem on prom night, when they initially refused their then-18-year-old son, Gregg, permission to drink with his friends in their home after the event. Gregg told them there would be drinking anyway, just someplace else. So, the Andersons decided to allow Gregg to invite the friends over and allow them to drink, as long as the kids procured the alcohol and everybody slept at the house. All car keys were taken at the door. The party got loud after some of the kids began binge drinking. Police came to the home and removed the alcohol and took notes. They arrested Bill Anderson a week later. Charges were subsequently dropped because he simply allowed the teens to drink instead of purchasing the alcohol for them, which is a crime.
But Debbie Riggs of Lenexa, Kansas, who lost her son in a drunk-driving accident in another case of drinking in the home of friends, says it should be a crime for parents to allow drinking. "These people who say 'Well, we take their keys and we make sure that they don't leave,' that to me is just a fallacy," she tells Stahl. "Is my child going to get violent? Is my child going to overindulge? Did I give you permission to take those risks with my child?" she asks. Riggs was successful in helping to get a law passed in Kansas that prohibits adults from allowing minors to drink alcohol on their property, even if the parents didn't provide the alcohol.
Says Johnson County (Kansas) District Attorney Paul Morrison, "I think the argument that I have a safe alcohol party for my kids is like saying, 'You can come over to my house and have sex. I'm going to have a bunch of condoms...'Would that be acceptable?" he asks.
The Andersons say they would never allow a sex or drug party at their house and that they didn't believe they were encouraging minors to drink. They maintain they were just being practical and responsible parents. "These kids do drink," says Pat Anderson. "If I could just say to him, 'No, you cannot drink' and know he wouldn't, that would be a wonderful situation," she tells Stahl. "Just saying no just doesn't work," adds her husband, Bill.