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Former Arlington selectwoman pleads not guilty to charges from alleged underage drinking at party

Posted by Brock Parker  December 21, 2012 09:57 AM

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Former Arlington Selectwoman Annie LaCourt and her husband appeared in a Middlesex District Court Friday morning to plead not guilty to charges stemming from an alleged underage drinking party at their home in October.

LaCourt and her husband Mark Burstein pleaded not guilty to 33 counts of furnishing alcohol to a person under 21 in the Cambridge District Court in Medford. They were released on their own recognizance and ordered back for a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 30.

LaCourt and Burstein’s attorney, Tom Brant, said the couple also entered not-guilty pleas to three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor earlier this week during an arraignment in juvenile court that was not open to the public.

Arlington Police charged the couple after police said they discovered a party at LaCourt’s home at 48 Chatham St. on Oct. 19. Police said there were 33 people at the party who were underage. Most of the teens were 17 years old, but three were 16, police said.

Police said they discovered the party after spotting a group of teens walking out of LaCourt’s home on their way to a playground at the nearby Stratton School that night. When police discovered the teens were intoxicated, they found more teens drinking beer inside LaCourt’s home.

LaCourt served seven years on the Arlington Board of Selectmen before deciding not to seek re-election in the spring. She was home with Burstein on the night of the party, and teens told police they saw the couple walking around the house, according to the police report.

Arlington Police said that in 2009 they had discovered a similar party at LaCourt’s home, but no charges were filed. In that incident, police spotted a drinking game of “beer pong” set up on a folding table in the front hall of the house along with several beer cans, according to a police report.

Arlington Police have said that most of the teens whom were found to be drinking at the party in October were allowed to go through a diversion program to avoid being charged with underage drinking. Charges were filed against some of the teens who were ineligible for the program, police said. Thirteen of the students were also suspended from participating in sports at Arlington High School as a result of the party, according to Arlington High School Principal Mary Villano.

--Brock Parker can be reached at brock.globe@gmail.com

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