Mother goes to jail for two months for providing alcohol to teens
Justice Jim EnEarl said he was deeply disturbed by a case Thursday in which he sentenced a Gardnerville mother to two months in jail as a condition of probation after she admitted to providing alcohol at a party for 15- and 16-year-olds.
EnEarl estimated 95 percent of the cases he sees involve substance abuse and 95 percent of the people in the Douglas County Jail are there because of poor decisions made under the influence.
“On a regular basis, I see 18-year-olds who you could arguably call alcoholics, who have been arrested six or seven times by the time they are 18-1/2 for intoxication,” EnEarl said. “Quite frankly, I don’t blame the parents for feeling a violation of trust. As a community we’d like to think when we entrust our children to another adult, they are being placed with an individual who has the same values and belief system and who will care for our children as we do. They’re not as angry as I’d be.”
Pamela Ohl, 42, of Gardnerville pleaded guilty in September to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and furnishing liquor to a minor, both misdemeanors. Ten other charges of furnishing were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Ohl was cited after police found she had rented a room at the Carson Valley Inn and provided alcohol.
She was given six months in jail on both counts, 10 months was suspended for one year. She must serve two months in jail and remain on probation for the next year.
Mothers of three of the boys at the August party were in the courtroom Thursday and all asked the judge to make Ohl an example of what will happen to parents who let children drink alcohol in Douglas County.
Lisa Dunkelberg, whose son, Jason is 15, is a pediatric nurse and said she has seen children die because of alcohol-induced accidents and alcohol poisoning.
Dunkelberg said the Douglas County deputies have told her alcohol is the number one problem they have with teen-agers and she said parents must understand they don’t do anyone any favors by letting children drink.
“I know for a fact there have been three parties in the last month where parents supplied alcohol to minors. What message does this give to children? Douglas County needs to be sent a clear message to adults. (EnEarl), you have an opportunity and responsibility to our community before a tragedy forces action,” Dunkelberg said.
All the women were angry that Ohl had told them she was taking the boys along on a camping trip that involved a few other teen-agers, including Ohl’s daughter, Savannah.
Joann Delicerda, whose son Danilo Aguilera, 15, is a sophomore at Douglas High School, said none of her five children has been in trouble before her son was arrested for drinking at the party Ohl had at the CVI.
“I don’t ever want it to happen again. Our children have been friends since they were little guys. Their idea of fun is coming over to our house and playing video games. For someone to lead them to do something like this is wrong,” Delicerda said.
“Pam Ohl is a habitual liar. She told the children to lie. She supplied alcohol and lied straight-faced to me. She had no qualms about blaming the children for her actions,” Dunkelberg said.
The mothers said when they were called at 11 p.m. to pick up their children, Ohl told them different stories.
Originally, the plan developed last school year among some of the teen-agers to have a party and tell their parents they were going camping. Ohl said she helped plan the deception with the teens, rented the room and supplied alcohol.
Ohl said her idea was a small, supervised party where the teens could use the hot tub, watch movies and play video games.
When a 17-year-old boy who had consumed Everclear began breaking items in the hotel’s hallway, the security guards and the police were called. She told the police – and told the kids to tell the police – that other teens had shown up with alcohol. The 17-year-old was later taken to the hospital with alcohol poisoning.
“I’m very ashamed. It was not my intention to get these kids drunk. Yes, I did deceive some parents. I led children to believe it’s OK to lie to have a good time and that is dead wrong. It was a huge mistake and very out of character for me,” Ohl said. “I had no right making decisions about your children. I’ve lost so much self-respect, it will take a long time for me to forget about this.”
Savannah also spoke to the court and asked the parents to forgive her mother.
Ohl’s attorney, Ron Cauley, said the parents of the other 11 children at the party were not at the hearing.
“The parents not here are saying something by their silence,” he said.
Cauley said one mother told him she didn’t want Ohl to go to jail. He said Ohl had already been sanctioned by the public and suffered by her own punishments. Cauley said she is extremely remorseful and made an error in judgment in thinking she could control a small party.
Cauley said only the 17-year-old drank to excess and that is because he was drinking Everclear that Ohl did not provide. Ohl did not have a criminal record.
“Teen-age drinking is a big problem and a big source of juveniles coming before the courts, but the sentence in this case is not going to resolve the problem,” Cauley said.
The DA’s office also asked for probation for Ohl.
Helen Hogan, mother of Anthony, 15, said she and the other mothers were satisfied with the sentence, even through she had asked for Ohl to be given the maximum sentence, 1 year in jail.
“I thought my son was taken advantage of. My trust was broken. I allowed her to care for my children. I can’t imagine a parent doing this with 15 kids of whatever age. She knows me. I do not allow my son to do that. She has told me I am too strict with my son, but I told her that’s not me and that’s not how I brought him up,” Hogan said.
Ohl must turn herself into the jail Monday, Oct. 23, to begin her sentence. While in jail, she will receive no good time or work time to lessen her sentence; however, the judge said he would consider an application for house arrest after 30 days served.
While on probation, she must not have any unsupervised contact with juveniles other than her own children. She must obey all laws, possess no drugs or alcohol, submit to random testing, submit to search and seizure, pay $200 restitution to the CVI, pay for the medical bills for the juvenile who cut himself and pay supervision and drug testing fees.