CEDAR GROVE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey mother said a party at her house had started as an innocent affair for high school football players and cheerleaders.
But as CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, there soon were alcohol and drugs at the party. Two teenagers ended up in the hospital, and Susan Cuffari ended up getting arrested.
Cuffari gave her side of the story in an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Christine Sloan Tuesday.
“I am very confused, because I called the police, and I couldn’t understand why I ended up being arrested,” she said.
Police said Cuffari let her cheerleader daughter and other teens hold a party and drink at her Cedar Grove, N.J. home this past weekend. But Cuffari claimed that was not how it happened.
“I allowed her to invite the whole football team and all the cheerleaders to our home,” she said.
Cuffari said it was all going smoothly with no alcohol, but then word spread on social media, and kids started showing up in her backyard, in her front yard, and in the driveway.
“It got out of control quickly,” Cuffari said. “I immediately called the police. I said. ‘There are over a hundred kids here. I saw them drinking. I even saw one smoking grass. Please come help me.’”
But police have a different version of the events, and Cuffari, 50, has now been charged with disorderly persons offense. Police accused Cuffari of knowingly allowing the teens to drink.
Investigators said they recovered dozens of beer bottles from the lawn. Terrified neighbors said they felt like their street was under siege.
“Beer, boxes taking out of the garage,” said Ana Gaffney. “The crowd just keeps growing and growing and growing.”
Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she watched two teens — who Police say were highly intoxicated – get rushed to the hospital.
“One had fallen, and I guess he’s the one brought out on a stretcher and put in an ambulance, and then another young man,” the neighbor said.
Cuffari said a police officer arrived at her door within five minutes.
“I recognized (the officer) — he is our local high schoool football coach,” she said. “I said: ‘Thank God you’re here. Your entire team is here. This place is a mad house. Help me. Come in. Get rid of all these kids.’”
But Cuffari said what that officer put in his report has gotten her in hot water.
“He stated in the report that I ‘knowingly allowed (my) daughter to have a few friends over to drink alcoholic beverages,” she said. “I have my master’s in education. I’m a teacher. I would never allow a child to drink.”
And Cuffari said the arrest has damaged her good name.
“I am shaking in my boots because my reputation is being smeared,” she said.
Cuffari said she remains very confused about why she was arrested.
Police would not comment on Cuffari’s allegations that a patrolman lied about her, saying the department does not comment on pending investigations.
The local superintendent of schools also would not elaborate on the report, only saying the district was aware of the incident and has been working with police. The superintendent said any student who was present could face suspension.
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