“I Won’t Stop Until I See An Arrest,” Says Mother of Providence Underage Party Drinker

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


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Karla Sherman (Photo: FB)

The mother of an underage drinker who ended up at the hospital after attending a party she says was hosted by adults told GoLocal she met with Providence Police on Monday -- and she "won't stop until she sees an arrest."

GoLocalProv was first to report that Carla Sherman alleged that the hosts of an underage drinking party over the weekend in Providence, that included Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) faculty members, urged party-goers not to contact authorities when her son "turned blue and started foaming at the mouth," for fear of legal repercussions.

"They said they're unclear if any laws were broken, and I let them talk," said Sherman, of meeting with police on Monday. "They there's no evidence -- and they said 'your son drank before he got there.' But at the end I said I've got video of kids getting in cars and taking off while [the police] were there, and I talked with the building owner, I'll likely get video from him that will show the hosts were there."

"I said I'm not an officer, I know you're understaffed, overworked, and things take priority. And I know this is not an emergency situation right here, right now, but they were telling me this isn't black and white, that it's a 'grey area.' They said that they're meeting with the city attorney and District Lieutenant, and they're looking at it," said Sherman. 

"I'm pursuing this. This is an underground nightclub -- they're letting DJs let kids in," said Sherman. "So while [RISD faculty members Will Reeves and Henry Brown] weren't necessarily running it, they were hosting it. And I won't stop until I see an arrest."

As GoLocal first reported, the Reeves and Brown were placed on administrative leave following the incident. 

Partygoers Recount Incident

A current high school student, and a recent high school graduate who attended the party, told GoLocal what they said had taken place. 

"I'd never been there before," said Melissa Sena, a junior at Cranston East High School, of the mill property on Tingley Street where the party took place starting on Friday evening. "There were a whole bunch of high school kids who were friends with the DJ, and they were drinking beforehand."

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A photo shared by Sherman, taken from a video, of people huddled around her son -- and what she says shows Reeve standing over him.

Sena noted the cover for the party, to which attendees brought their own alcohol, was $3 for boys -- but nothing for girls.

"I didn't see the seizure happen, but I saw him outside," said Sena of seeing Sherman's son.  "I stayed with him the whole time. He was throwing up, no one knew what to do. I knew that he had to be upright, so I said to sit him up." 

"The older guy who hosted it said you have to take him across the street," said Sena. "I went expecting a bunch of kids would be there, but adults?  No way."

Jay Bast, another friend of Sherman's son, said he was surprised at the number of high schoolers at the party. 

"I thought it was going to be a class of 2017 party, but I saw a bunch of sophomores and underclassmen I recognized," said Bast. 

Like Gee, Bast said he knew there had been drinking before the party. 

"I heard [Sherman's son] was outside and laying there on the ground and I thought, 'Oh damn.' I told one kid to get the kids we came with. Then this guy showed up. He came downstairs and he tried to sit him up," said Bast of seeing Reeves. "I'd seen him in the party, I thought he was an older kid. He comes over likes he's in charge, meanwhile [Sherman's son] looked like he was foaming, I think he might have been choking. And [Reeves] said, "Please no, I said I don't care, take him somewhere' -- he told us to drag him out."

"We got in an argument. He said he could care less. Obviously, he wasn't fine. My mom always said if anyone's sick just bring them to the hospital," said Bast, who said he and his friends then took Sherman's son. 

"Look, I know that if that guy didn't rent that space, there could have been a party somewhere else," said Bast. "But it reminded me of the time another friend of mine had a party, and the mom was there while we were drinking, and she knew we were drinking, and one of the girls got sick."

"And the girl's sister called the cops and the mom got arrested," said Bast. "But that's not what happened with this party."

GoLocal made repeated efforts to reach Reeve by phone, email and social media asking for comment on Sherman’s allegations.


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