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MD AG: I Should Have Policed Underaged Beach Party

11:58 AM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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Maryland's attorney general said Thursday that in hindsight he should have found out whether teens at a high school beach house party he briefly attended were drinking or not.

Douglas Gansler, a Democrat candidate for governor, was shown in a photo at the beach party that he and other parents arranged for his son and other high school students in June.

A photo, which was posted to Instagram by one of those attending, shows Gansler with a cellphone pushing through a crowd of young people, including some dancing shirtless on a table amid a smattering of red plastic cups, The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday.

The Sun said underage participants at the party at a rented house in South Bethany, Del., later confirmed that many were drinking alcohol.

Parents had compiled 13 "beach week rules," including one stating: "No hard liquor or controlled substances may be consumed." There was no mention of beer or wine.

Gansler told The Sun on Wednesday that it was not his responsibility as a parent or a high-ranking law enforcement official to intervene at the event attended mainly by underage youth.

"Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party," he said. "How is that relevant to me? ... The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people's children at beach week in another state? I say no."

At a Thursday news conference, Ganszler struck a different tone, saying that he thinks "I probably should have done more."

"I probably in hindsight should have determined whether people were drinking or not," he told reporters.

Gansler appeared in a video last year that was part of a campaign by the Century Council, a non-profit that fights teen drinking and drunken driving.

"Parents, you're the leading influence on your teen's decision not to drink," Gansler says in the video for the organization's campaign to persuade parents to talk to middle-school children about drinking. "It's never too early to talk with your kids about smart ways to say no."

Although Gansler, according to the newspaper, was among the group of parents who rented the six-bedroom beach house for the teen party, he told the newspaper that he was only briefly at the event and that his son was not drinking.

"My responsibility is only to my child. ... Everybody has their own moral compass. Mine is to raise my own child," he initially told The Sun.

Gansler's past few weeks have been rough. The Washington Post earlier this month published a story in which state troopers assigned to protect him and drive him to events said they were instructed by him to speed, run red lights and bypass traffic jams.

Asked if the headlines about the teen party would affect his campaign, Gansler stood firm and touted his record as a prosecutor.

"We're in it," he said. "We're gonna win it."

"We're fine but I think issues like underage drinking and what we should do as parents ... I'm looking forward to have a dialogue about that going forward."





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