Chesco father, son charged over illegal party

Raymond Bonnett , 46, was charged.
Raymond Bonnett , 46, was charged.
Posted: March 20, 2013

The underage drinking party was one complaint.

Then there were the two fathers out on the lawn who could not contact their daughters, thought to be at the Saturday night party inside the East Goshen Township, Chester County, house.

And then there were the hosts of the party, who allegedly refused to let police see what was happening inside the house in the 1600 block of Bow Tree Drive.

After finding what was inside - including several teenagers hiding in a basement crawl space - the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department arrested Raymond Bonnett, 46, and his son Elliott, 18, and charged them with hosting a party at their home for 19 underage drinkers on the eve of St. Patrick's Day.

The most serious charges were not for hosting the party, but two felony counts of "interference with custody of children."

After more than an hour in which the Bonnett son ordered police officers off the family property and refused to let them enter the house, they found one juvenile "unconscious and covered in vomit on the basement couch," according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The affidavit gave the following account:

Police responded to an 11:17 p.m. call about an underage drinking party and eventually found Elliott Bonnett standing at an open rear-deck door, where he began "yelling at police to get out" and "did close and lock the door."

During the encounter, police saw "about 15 juveniles inside the kitchen area, several who were holding beer bottles or plastic cups." The juveniles ran to other rooms during the standoff.

While police were phoning the Bonnetts and leaving several messages, the affidavit stated, two fathers of 16-year-old girls arrived.

Both fathers said they were able to contact their daughters by phone but could not persuade them to leave the house.

Finally, at 12:44 a.m. Sunday, police persuaded four girls to open the front door.

Not only did officers find a large trash bag in the basement with several beer and liquor bottles, the affidavit stated, but "multiple subjects were found hiding in a basement crawl space with multiple open empty and partially full beer and hard-liquor bottles near them."

When Raymond Bonnett came down from the second floor, he was arrested.

In addition, "a strong odor" of marijuana was evident "immediately upon walking to the top of the stairs," the affidavit stated. Police traced the smell to a bedroom, where three more partygoers were discovered.

In addition to the felony counts, the father and son were charged with three misdemeanors - endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, and selling or furnishing liquor and such to minors.

The partygoers were to be issued citations for underage drinking.

The Bonnetts were arraigned Sunday.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 27 in West Chester.


Contact Walter F. Naedele at 610-313-8134 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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