The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 30, 2013

How a Northern Cambria woman, guilty of allowing a teen drinking party, will educate teens

EBENSBURG — A Northern Cambria woman will find herself facing an audience of teens more than once over the next several months after her son had a drinking party at her home and she did not step in to stop it.

Cambria County Judge David Tulowitzki said it was only because of the plea made by defense attorney Maribeth Schaffer that he did not sentence Patricia Varner to serve time in the Cambria County Prison following a teenage party at her house that sent one of the boys to the hospital.

Varner, 45, of the 1600 block of Crawford Avenue, was charged after state police were called to assist in getting a juvenile to Miners Medical Center in Hastings on Dec. 22.

The youth, one of five juveniles, including Varner’s son, drank so much he had to have his stomach pumped. All five were charged with underage drinking.

Varner told the court she was not aware the boys had alcohol and thought they were getting together just to play video games.

However, it was pointed out that she told police she and her husband did not drink and that she saw a bottle of vodka in her freezer. She asked the boys not to take it out.

“It is a very hard lesson learned,” she said. “They were supposed to be in my garage and things got out of hand.”

Tulowitzki sentenced her to 23 months probation and ordered that she make arrangements with officials of the Northern Cambria School District to conduct three seminars at the high school.

The goal of the seminars will be to spell out the circumstances of her case and what can happen when parents allow alcohol at their homes.

Kathy Mellott is a courthouse reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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