Giving a child alcohol deserves punishment

Too often, adults laugh it off when they hear about minors consuming alcohol. Hey, kids will be kids, right?

Jason A. Bartley Jr. was a kid, just 17 years old. He never made it to adulthood.

Bartley lived in Chillicothe, Ohio. There, last October, he drank too much vodka. He died from acute alcohol poisoning, according to the Ross County coroner, who also listed “benzodiazepines abuse” as a cause of death.

Ross County authorities have arrested Sandy L. France, 33, of Chilicothe. They say France, the mother of one of Bartley’s friends, gave the boy the bottle of vodka that killed him. She has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

In the vast majority of cases involving adults who furnish alcohol to juveniles, they are charged with relatively minor crimes. They pay fines and that is an end to it. Sometimes, law enforcement officers merely give the offenders a good talking-to.

Furnishing alcohol to a minor puts that boy or girl — yes, children — at great risk. That ought to be obvious.

Adults caught illegally providing beer, wine or liquor to minors in our area should be punished as severely as the law allows, with no exceptions for any reason.

Otherwise, it is entirely possible prosecutors in our area will find themselves in the same position as their counterpart in Ross County — pursuing a manslaughter case involving a kid who was just being a kid but who never had a chance to grow up.

By Kerry Minor

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