Professor Won't Be Charged For Teen Drinking Party

44 counts dropped against Stanford professor

By Caitlin Matalone
|  Thursday, May 17, 2012  |  Updated 6:44 AM PDT
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Professor Won't Be Charged For Teen Drinking Party

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A Stanford professor will not face charges, after all, in connection with a party hosted by his 17-year-old son.

The San Mateo District Attorney’s Office says there isn’t enough proof that William Burnett bought alcohol, or made alcohol available, to more than 40 teenage guests.

Burnett says he and his wife Cynthia decided to open their Menlo Park home to their son’s teenage friends to celebrate a big football win the night before Thanksgiving last year.

The professor says he was not aware the teenagers were drinking until police knocked at the door to investigate a noise complaint.

Burnett’s attorney tells the Bay Area News Group, there is a separate entrance to the basement where the party took place, so teens could hide what they were doing.  

The professor was arrested and charged with 44 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor – one count for each teen at the party.

Unlike other Bay Area cities, the city of Menlo Park does not have a “social host” law to penalize parents who condone underage drinking at parties on their property.

The state’s “Teen Alcohol Safety” law is in effect, but only penalizes adults who knowingly provide alcohol to minors, and an injury or death occurs.

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