10 cited in bust at principal’s house

Daughter's sleep-over gets out of control

News editor

“I was just trying to have the girls over for a sleep-over,” Whitney Gordon said.

Hours after the sleep-over started Friday, sheriff’s deputies were breaking up a party of 27 people at the house of Marion High School Principal Tod Gordon, Whitney’s father.

Ten of 27 — not including Whitney — were ticketed for suspicion of consumption or possession of alcohol by a minor after deputies administered breath tests to the attendees.

One other was cited for allegedly possessing 3 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in a car outside the party.

County Attorney Susan Robson refused Tuesday to name any of those who were cited.

Whitney, home from college in Wyoming, had asked permission to have three or four of her closest friends over to spend the night. After dinner, they invited a few other friends for the evening. Others apparently found out, and it turned into many people inviting themselves over.

If it had been one or two people showing up at a time, she said, she could have turned them away, but that wasn’t how it happened.

“Four cars showed up at once, all packed,” Whitney said.

She said many of the uninvited guests were people she didn’t socialize with, and some people brought alcohol with them.

Sheriff Rob Craft said three deputies responded to a complaint about the gathering.

The sheriff’s department called the principal and received permission to enter his home at 1748 Upland Road a little before midnight, he said.

“So then I packed my bags and came home,” Gordon said. “It was not the call we wanted on my wife’s birthday.”

Craft said eight adults ages 18 to 20 were ticketed on suspicion of possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor. Two juveniles also were cited. One person was cited on suspicion of possession of 3 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (a glass pipe), neither of which were found in the house.

Craft said other charges are possible. An offense report included unlawfully hosting minors consuming alcohol or cereal malt beverage and furnishing alcohol or cereal malt beverage to a minor.

The citations and that report were turned over to Robson for her decision on whether to file charges.

In response to an open records request, Robson said the attorney general’s office advised her that she didn’t have to release the citations until charges were filed. She said she hoped any charges would be filed by Friday.

“I know my daughter wasn’t drinking, so she didn’t get a ticket,” Tod Gordon said. “It doesn’t make me feel any better, knowing that people were at my house drinking.

“Perception is that my daughter had a party, and that is not the fact.”

He said his daughter told him she had been trying to get the crowd under control and sent home before officers arrived.

How the minors received the alcohol is still under investigation, Craft said.

“Tod and Alice had nothing to do with this,” Craft said. “They didn’t support this. They didn’t encourage behavior like this.

“She (Whitney) wasn’t cited that night, but she isn’t out of the woods.”

On Monday, USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker said all he had heard about the case was rumor, so he didn’t know enough to comment on it. Multiple attempts to reach Board of Education President Chris Sprowls for comment were unsuccessful.

 

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