Mass. couple charged in teen’s drowning death at graduation pool party
DEDHAM, Mass. (WCVB) - A retired Massachusetts State Police captain and his wife will face charges in connection with the death of a 17-year-old boy, who drowned while at a pool party at their home.
In court Wednesday, a clerk magistrate determined there is enough evidence for charges to be brought against retired State Police Capt. James Coughlin and his wife, Leslie Coughlin, in the death of 17-year-old Alonzo Polk.
The Coughlins hosted a graduation party for their daughter’s friends at their home in June. The party allegedly included underage drinking, and police say the adults went inside while the kids were drinking by the couple’s pool.
Polk attended the party, hours after graduating from Dedham High School, and ended up drowning in the pool.
The couple faces charges of child endangerment and furnishing alcohol to minors, both misdemeanors. Their attorney, Brian Kelly, argued the child endangerment charges were not warranted.
“He [Polk] was observed not drinking at the party. So, to suggest that this kid was a drinker and partying and it’s his fault is not true. He’s not a drinker. And he’s 10 days shy of his 18th birthday. So, it’s unfair to suggest that he was a toddler, unsupervised near a pool. That’s not what happened,” Kelly said.
Kelly says Polk had asthma and did not know how to swim, which his clients did not know, and that he was pushed into the water by another teenager.
“When Mr. Coughlin heard the commotion outside, he ran to the pool and performed CPR in a desperate attempt to save Alonzo,” Kelly said.
Outside the court building, Polk’s family carried photos of the teenager. His brother, Roshawn Drane, says he is grateful the Coughlins will face charges.
“We appreciate what happened here today. Just one step to move on to a long road, and I just want to make sure in this long road that there’s justice for Alonzo,” Drane said.
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