By Jerome Burdi, Sun Sentinel
6:04 AM PDT, October 14, 2010
About 350 underage party crashers brought alcohol to a Boca Raton mansion early Sunday after Homecoming at American Heritage School in Plantation. And within 15 minutes, students were drinking, passed out and vomiting on the property, an attorney said.
At least four calls to 911 sent paramedics and police to the home.
Some of Sunday's events — recounted Wednesday by Adam Harmelin, attorney for the homeowners — differ from what Boca Raton police wrote in their report.
In a call to the house, a dispatcher spoke with a woman who identified herself as the homeowner. She grew frantic when the dispatcher told her what was going on.
"We don't have anybody unconscious. Where are they?" she asked.
During the party, hosts Shlomo and Jeannie Rasabi, parents of two American Heritage teens, stood on the stairwell, making sure no one came upstairs at the $2.7 million, 17,000-square-foot home in The Sanctuary community, Harmelin said.
However, the police report said the couple were in their bedroom and knew nothing of what was going on downstairs.
"I didn't even know all these kids were here; they all brought alcohol into the house," Shlomo Rasabi said, according to the police report. "My wife and I planned a party for Homecoming for American Heritage School in which all the kids had a party at our house, [but] it was never supposed to get this big. I was in my room the whole time."
Harmelin and police, though, agree that the couple was unaware that some of the 500 juveniles were drinking themselves unconscious.
The Rasabis' sons, 16 and 17, answered the door for police and were not drunk, Harmelin said.
The Rasabis were arrested on misdemeanor charges of open house party. Six teens were charged with possessing alcohol under the age of 21.
"My clients took the reasonable steps necessary to not have alcohol on their property," Harmelin said.
The Rasabis hired three people to work as security/chaperones for about 150 teens who were invited to the party. The couple had wristbands made to be sure only those invited came into the house, their lawyer said.
But word got out, and after an earlier party in Weston — where there also was drinking — hundreds of teens with fake wristbands piled into four chartered buses that one of the students had arranged, Harmelin said.
They got to the Boca Raton home, at 4040 Ibis Point Circle, about 12:15 a.m. and mobbed the house and yard, Harmelin said. Within 15 minutes, paramedics were called, and then police.
"The resident did not provide any precautionary measures for people underage," the police report said.
Rosemary Cvammen, dean of American Heritage, released this statement:
"We are reviewing the circumstances to determine whether any of our school policies were violated. If any policies were violated, those issues will be dealt with appropriately and confidentially. We encourage parents to communicate with other parents to confirm arrangements and supervision when their children engage in off-campus, non-school activities."
Cvammen said that students from one other school were involved, but she did not name the school.
According to the police report, officers found about 100 juveniles drinking outside. Five were vomiting and four teenage girls were unconscious on the front lawn.
The four girls were taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Their injuries were not life-threatening, police said. It was unclear if they had been released.
If the Rasabis had been aware of the underage drinking, they could have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, underage serving of a minor or culpable negligence. Any of those charges is a misdemeanor unless someone dies, legal experts said.
Police told the Rasabis what was going on, Harmelin said, and "as soon as my client saw this, the party was over."
Police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg said the arresting officer, Richard Jason Guberman, stands by the report, despite Harmelin's explanation.
"He is swearing to it and we are standing by it," Boonenberg said.
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek and staff writer Alexia Campbell contributed to this report.
Jerome Burdi can be reached at jburdi@SunSentinel.com or 561-243-6531.
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