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Here’s How The Law Meant To Stop Underage Drinking Can Affect Parents

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota father faces criminal charges because prosecutors say he should have known his son was throwing an underage drinking party.

Gary Hastad wasn’t at the party earlier this month, but investigators say his son, Erik, organized it and held it at family property just down the road from his house.

When the cops showed up to the house in Madison, Minn., partygoers who’d been drinking ran, including 18-year-old Michael Anyasike.

His parents called police when he didn’t come home the next morning. Searchers found his body at a nearby farm.

“Social host violations can be on a case by case basis,” said West St. Paul Police Chief Manila Shaver.

Shaver has seen a decrease in parties with underage drinking since West St. Paul’s ordinance went into effect in 2009. He says it’s more likely a parent can be held liable for underage drinking in their home if their child has a criminal history.

Erik Hastad has four previous underage drinking charges.

“If there’s been a history of past parties, if there has been stocking up of alcohol, it’s kind of like parents turning a blind eye,” Shaver said.

According to the criminal complaint, “significant planning” went into the party thrown by Erik Hastad. Party lights were set up, a sound system brought in, and snow was cleared to make room for up to 25 cars.

Court documents show that the teenagers who went to the party brought their own drinks. If Gary Hastad had provided alcohol, he could have faced a felony, but in this case, the ordinance violation is a misdemeanor.

Currently there are 101 cities and 23 counties that have social host ordinances in Minnesota. The city of Chaska was the first to adopt one in 2007.

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