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RI governor’s son gets community service for underage drinking party

Associated Press

Publication: theday.com

Published August 22. 2012 12:00PM   Updated August 22. 2012 12:51PM

South Kingstown, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Lincoln Chafee's 18-year-old son pleaded no contest Wednesday to violating the state's social host law and was sentenced to community service and fined $500 for an underage drinking party on family property.

With his father looking on, Caleb Chafee was arraigned in Washington County District Court on one count of violating a law that prohibits people from allowing anyone under 21 to consume alcohol on their property.

Judge Stephen Isherwood ordered Chafee to contribute $500 to Rhode Island's victim compensation fund and complete 30 hours of community service. He was also referred to the Reducing Youthful Dangerous Driving program, which aims to reduce dangerous driving and prevent accidents involving young drivers.

The charge stems from a party hosted by Chafee on Memorial Day at the family's horse farm in Exeter, where prosecutors say there was underage drinking. A police report obtained by WPRO-AM said Chafee asked an 18-year-old woman to leave the gathering after she started vomiting; it said he "told us to call 911 only after we were off his property."

The ill woman was removed from the front passenger seat of a car by rescuers after a classmate called 911, according to the report.

The governor and his wife, Stephanie, appeared in court with their son Wednesday but did not take questions after the appearance. The governor said he had no comment beyond what he already has said.

In a statement issued last week, he said he and his wife have been "concerned and disappointed by the details of the event in question."

"Caleb will accept responsibility for his actions and, in addition to any legal consequences that result, we will continue to deal with this matter as a family," the governor's statement said.

A call to Caleb Chafee's attorney, Peter DiBiase, was not immediately returned.

As part of the youthful dangerous driving program, which consists of 20 hours over three weeks, Caleb Chafee will spend time visiting Rhode Island Hospital, the judge said. The program's website says hospital volunteers work two weekend shifts. Chafee must also write an essay after he completes the program about the benefits he derived, according to his sentence.

He pleaded no contest in May to allegations that he tried to buy beer at a Jamestown liquor store a month earlier. A judge fined him $100, which he paid. DiBiase has said a judge expunged that case from his record.

Chafee graduated this year from Portsmouth Abbey School.

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