Malicious Destruction Charges in Massachusetts House Party

by admin on March 17, 2011

Four Massachusetts teens were convicted of a malicious destruction of property under $250, after a series of house parties that allegedly resulted in over $50,000 worth of damage to an East Bridgewater home.

According to the Brockton Enterprise, 4 out of six defendants at the Brockton District Court were convicted of the criminal charge, but were sentenced to only 1 year of probation, and community service.

It is an open question how no one was charged with a more serious crime of malicious damage , with all of that property damage to the home. Malicious damage penalties in Massachusetts can result in penalties of up to 2 1/2 years in prison, and 3 times the value of the property damage caused.

Presumably the state couldn’t prove a more serious version of the property destruction charges, which apparently took place over a number of days, with many different people in the home for a raucous party. It is likely that the prosecutor couldn’t prove who was responsible, or what their intent was, so they had to settle for a relatively minor plea and a light penalty for so much destruction.

The teens were lucky to avoid felony criminal charges.

Shelley Croal March 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

East Bridgewater Parent Breaks Silence…

RE: the incident of 2/20/10, and the criminal case that ensued… this may read slightly fragmented as my remarks were taken from other things I wrote in frustration over the coverage on this case…

I am the (proud) mother of one of the defendants, Jordan O’Neill, who was acquitted in this trial.

Here’s some background:

The homeowners’ son was left unsupervised while they went to Paris. He had more than one party that week. He contributed to the destruction, has MH/behavioral issues, was arrested in December 2010 for robbing a local liquor store, but the 6 kids on trial are taking the hit for everything-no onus of responsibility on ANYONE else, including the owners and those who did not call police that night, which would have prevented or at least minimized these tragedies…

Despite this event and the horrible things written since, these are NOT “bad kids.” What happened was bad-there is NO denying that. The behavior of Jill Steidle, the owner, continues to be atrocious, however. Hers are the actions of an ADULT who is simply on a witch hunt, who continues to seek out media attention, presumably to support a fraudulent or at best, inflated insurance claim. I can’t see any other motivation, quite honestly, unless there are underlying psychological issues of her own that are playing out in this scenario. She is misinforming the media, and exaggerating truths.

The proliferation of character defamation is unreal. I don’t appreciate it, neither do the other parents I have spoken with. We love our kids, have endured this past year with them, and want to put this in the past. These kids (AND our families) are being judged completely and erroneously on the irresponsible behavior of one night. We have all had one year of pay back for what happened.

Let me tell you a little about MY son… I raised him and his 27 year old sister as a single parent. Jordan has always, since childhood, been one of the kindest people I have ever met. Everyone who knows him likes him. Parents love him, store employees love him, school and community members have nothing but good things to say about him. He’s a GOOD person, a truly nice kid, and smart as a whip.

My son graduated high school, did well, too. He participated in calculus every night til 8 or 9 pm (God bless you, Mr. Sidiki!), even on weekends and vacations, which enabled him to earn a “5” (top grade you can achieve) on his AP Calculus exam. He was Captain of the football team, dated a very nice girl in high school who was also scholastically and athletically inclined. He participated and school, community, and charitable events. He did all the leg work to get himself into college. He did the research, gathered the paperwork, obtained documentation and attended open houses at colleges in preparation for his future. He has worked since he legally could; not because I made him, but because he wanted to. He has been through some tragedies in his life that I don’t wish on anyone. Those who know us see my kids as amazing, bright, funny, close, leaders, and ambitious. He’s a great son. Yes, he’s a teenager, and yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of that teenage “attitude” so many times (if you’ve been there, you know what I mean) but he has never given me any real trouble. He doesn’t deserve to be characterized the way he has been this past year. I am proud to be his mother.

Inadvertently, I even asked the detective in this case if he has ever heard anything concerning about Jordan around town ( you never know, I always ask others just to be sure) and even he said he has never heard anything but good things about my son. That’s how it has always been. And I thank God for that.

Steidle needs to get a life, really. She appears to have a personal vendetta against these kids, when she really needs to be addressing the needs of HER children more attentively, it sounds like to me. It’s quite evident she has some kind of affiliation with the overzealous DA’s office. A private investigator hired by one of the defense attorneys is a former police chief. HE can’t even believe how out of control this case got, and the level to which it was taken.

What Jill Steidle is stating is not all accurate and fueled by emotion, but no one except us knows that, because none of us have spoken up. Well, here I am.

The superior court judge, used to handling homicides, kidnappings, rapes, drug crimes and the like saw it for what it was and ruled accordingly. Gee whiz, when does it end?

The professionals in this case see it for what it is. It has been broadcast all over the internet, tv and even the tabloids caught and ran with this story. Slow news day, fellas? This is East Bridgewater MA, not a Mafia bust, ok?

I guess the truth is not as sensational as the lies being spouted, but that’s what they report and form opinions about, without ANY investigation into the FACTS of this case or the trial that went waaaay longer than it should have. (Some teens just don’t know how to answer a question “yes” or “no” evidently. Most had to be reminded of their grand jury testimonies because they couldn’t recall what they said. Like this sort of event happens so often?) It was painful, let me tell you.

Think about these things… Why was the contractor’s bid so inflated-with estimates like $43 to remove a wall shelf (x however many wall shelves there were…), $450 to move furniture (in every room, every time)? Why did they try to submit a claim for a NEW septic system? Really? Silverware can’t leave plumbing, guys. It would get stuck in the trap, not mess up the septic system. Flour in the drain, though messy, isn’t going to ruin the septic system, necessarily, as the owners must know, since I believe they still have the “ruined” system. The bid, overall, was so blatantly padded. So stop reporting the claim amount and focus on what repair costs actually amounted to. That figure’s bad enough, but at least it’s factual. Not that we were told what that amount really is…

Why didn’t the owner testify as to the actual amount covered by insurance? Because the claim exceeded the actual damages. That’s why. Supposedly, some of the repairs pre-existed this house party. Not huge repairs, but they are included in that claim. Isn’t that interesting…

And, the best question of all… Why weren’t the police called that night? Because there was a missing defendant in that court room, and it was the owner’s son, Alex Steidle. He was intoxicated; he contributed to the destruction of his own home, before and after the party, and then got scared. So scared he threatened to burn the house down, or worse. In deference to him I will say no more about that. But there IS more.

These 6 kids took the fall for dozens of teenagers who attended this party and contributed to the level of devastation that awaited the Steidle-Abbett’s upon their return from what should have been a wonderful trip abroad. Teenagers by nature act impulsively, and need adult supervision. Where were the adults responsible for Alex Steidle while his family was away? This was NOT his only party that week.

I can’t speak for all of the families and teens involved, but I would bet that if the home owners had approached and held accountable the individuals involved, they would have assumed responsibility for the damages and made restitution or taken care of repairing what they were responsible for, especially considering testimonies for the prosecution that some of those damages were accidental, and apologies were uttered. But families were never given that opportunity, and you can’t communicate with a plaintiff in a criminal case. It didn’t have to unfold THIS way, but it did.

To characterize these young men and our families as we have been portrayed in the media is unconscionable. Where is THEIR (the owner and her family’s) culpability in this whole tragedy? They are NOT entirely blameless, but continue to rage against our sons. I am not blaming the victim here. The owners do share SOME level of responsibility for how this ever could have occurred to begin with. Would YOU leave your troubled teenager home and fly off to another country? Just for safety’s sake and peace of mind, I can’t imagine I would, even though I would trust my son to be responsible had I done that. My daughter at that age, no, my son, yes. You have to know your child.

These are not bad kids. They are good kids who are being judged without other perspectives being considered. It is the framing of this incident that really gets me upset, not holding teenagers responsible for bad behavior. It is the fact that they have been demonized. We work all of our parenting lives to instill good self-esteem in our children. Now the media gets hold of this event, runs with it, villainizing teenagers who did something wrong, one night in their lives, for which they will pay the rest of their lives. It’s on their record. It’s not going away. I don’t think any one of these boys had any kind of record prior to this incident. These are not derelict teens!

After the judge issued her response, my son was in the hallway, talking to his sister on his cell phone regarding the verdict. Jill Steidle and another woman, I assume her mother, walked up to him and said why don’t you put it on Facebook? (So I did.) Her mother said something about ruining people’s lives. In light of my own personal history and what I have survived and overcome in my life, this barely registers on my richter scale of life ruining events. I’d ask the people of Japan for their perspective as well. Ruining lives… I think that’s more of what Jill Steidle is motivated by than anything these boys are guilty of, quite honestly. At this point, that and her justification of an insurance claim are the only motivators I can imagine for pursuing anything further.

I spoke at length with VB from Fox News after the articles about the trial began to surface. I was visibly shaking as I heard his comments expressed this morning. Perhaps if all I had was a news article with one-sided reporting to base my opinion on, I might have come to the same conclusions. But he listened, asked questions, and now he “gets it.” There were no winners in this trial. We all paid a price.

There’s no need to contact me about this case. I’ve stated everything I care to say here. I just want people to understand that not everything they read is true, fair, or accurate, and I have a right to be heard, too.

One of the prosecutions witnesses was arrested early March in school, for possession of alcohol, marijuana and adderall. She testified to not having drank the night of the party. Everyone testified that everyone was drinking, except for them, as they testified under oath. Interesting. Only one girl said she had been drinking, but everyone else was sober, and just can’t remember the details of this incident. My son legitimately was not drinking. He arrived and left sober late in the evening and had nothing to do with any damages to this home, was never charged with any damages to this home.

There was an altercation with a young man who admitted in court, with immunity, to having been intoxicated and provoking a fight with another. My son was accused of having been involved in the flurry of people who came to the defense of the boy who didn’t want to fight this young man. Testimony corroborated that. My son was not found guilty.

Needless to say, my sympathy/empathy for Steidle went out the window last week as she continued her media frenzy. It was there for a year. She is taking this waaaay too far and making herself look like a whacko in the process. The trial ended. A verdict was rendered. No one has money to go after in a civil suit. Let it rest…

admin March 20, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Wow, thanks for the extensive commentary and first hand knowledge of the case.
Any criminal case can only be about the facts as they are presented, and by there nature must be limited. There is always more to the story.
But is sounds like it was a reasonable outcome determined by the court.
And any civil suit will likely have difficulty establishing that level of damage cost, if what you say is true.
We wish you the best of luck.

Alex Steidle February 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Just wanted to let everyone know that has listened to this lady..her son and all of the kids who destroyed my house have been commenting on my fb about once a week just starting random problems with me. I asked 1 of them why he wanted to start problems with me and he said ” because your a bitch”. These 7 kids are looked at by everyone in the school as punks and thieves. They told some kid that i snitched on them and I was sucker punched in the face with brass knuckles outside a local Cumberland farms. They ruined my parents home, crashed my step-dads truck drunk in my driveway and told the court that i gave them the keys..these kids are complete scumbags..this women is known for false accusations. I’ve been arrested 1 time. Each of these kids have been arrested at least 4 times for a fact..they left my house to go beat some students at bridgewater state college and they beat 2 kids in the face with a tire iron…I moved to north weymouth because of the issues her son started with me and my friends..jordan oneil jumped my friend in my kitchen with each of the teens and their friends involved. my friend said nothing to any of them and said they did it to look cool (fact)..I live on my own in my own apartment. I work construction and I’m currently on the waiting list for the local 537 pipe-fitters union…I get hit in the face with brass knuckles and they get a year probation for 80,000 dollars worth of merchandise and destruction to my parents home..the majority of the defendants have been arrested for Drugs, Violence and a car they blew up in bridgewater.I have ADHD and bipolar disorder and i’ve been medicated since i was 12 years old. I did not participate in any of the destruction that happened..thats why every single defendant begged me to not tell my parents or police..I think its wrong to anounce someones medical condition in public but the mother of jordan oneil is known for this..Alex Steidle

Tom Holland August 4, 2012 at 1:46 am

Alex I am so sorry for those injuries that you suffered and i am happy that you have got your life together and are looking into the union and i am sorry that these thugs got off with a slap on there wrists.
Your medical conditions are serious ones and this thugs mommy shouldnt be on here talking out of turn like that about things like that. you could have her sued for whatever they own. You didnt deserve this, and dont let these people tell you that they did. and if mrs croal wants to make up false accusations about a medical issue of yours, then you should see a lawyer. thats serious. keep up the hard work.

Shelley Croal September 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Alex’s comments are not factual. But, as the next poster demonstrates, ppl will always choose to believe what they want to believe. Fact or fiction-what we believe is a reflection of who we are, not what is necessary true. I rest my case. lol

Maria December 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm

How old are you? I can’t believe an adult is actually speaking like this, let alone a parent.

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