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Party Thrower Hit With Manslaughter

August 31, 2001

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EASTON, Pa. (AP) _ A woman who authorities said hosted a beer party that preceded the deaths of three teen-agers in a car wreck was charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Judith McCloskey, 41, of Bangor, could be sentenced to up to five years in prison on each count if convicted.

``Today I’m sending a message ... don’t buy booze for your kids or their friends,″ Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Thursday. ``If they get hurt, I am going to hold you criminally responsible.″

Morganelli said this is the first time in Pennsylvania that someone who allegedly provided alcohol to a minor was charged in an alcohol-related fatal car crash of that minor.

Authorities said McCloskey held the party April 28 in the basement of her house in Plainfield Township, where she lived at the time. Police said 50 to 100 guests between the ages of 15 and 19 attended the party and drank alcohol.

``She created a safe haven for teen-agers to gather and get drunk with full knowledge that (they) were driving automobiles to and from her premises,″ Morganelli said.

Three teen-agers who attended the party died in a one-car wreck while going home. The driver, Christopher Mowad, 19, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20 percent, twice the legal limit. The others killed were Byran Kiefer and Kimberly Byrne, both 18.

McCloskey’s 15- and 17-year-old daughters were also charged with underage drinking and referred to juvenile court. Morganelli said they allegedly ``played a role in organizing and facilitating the party.″

McCloskey was released on $100,000 bail.

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