14 charged with underage drinking, failure to disperse

Jenna Staul

All pleaded not guilty during arraignment

Students wait to enter a plea yesterday at Portage County Municipal Court yesterday. Most students were charged with failure to disperse and underage drinking charges. The judge sentenced those who plead guity with community service, fines and writing a p

Credit: DKS Editors

Fourteen people were arraigned yesterday morning in connection to the College Fest riots Saturday night. Most were charged with underage drinking and failure to disperse – and each pleaded not guilty.

Individuals who do not live on College Avenue were ordered by Judge John Plough of Kent Municipal Court to stay off of the street as a condition of their bail.

“We don’t want anymore problems down there,” Plough said during the arraignment.

Plough said he would suspend a 30-day jail sentence for those who pleaded guilty and performed 24 hours of community service, paid $150 in fines, wrote letters of apology to the law enforcement departments that responded to the scene Saturday and wrote a one-page paper on civil disobedience. Pre-trial dates were set for those pleading not guilty.

Failure to disperse is a fourth-degree misdemeanor and is described as failure to leave a scene after being ordered to by law enforcement or a public official.

Chris Sestak, an attorney for Kent State’s legal services, said he is representing roughly 20 students in connection to the riots. He said failure to disperse is an uncommon charge and often difficult to convict.

“You don’t see it often, typically only when it is a mass scene like this or a riot,” Sestak said. “They have all these subtle elements. It’s a pretty complicated charge.”

Sestak said he has not yet individually consulted with his student clients regarding this case.

“They’ve been kind of trickling in over the last few days,” Sestak said.

Sestak said the last time he defended multiple students was in a similar case after Halloween of last year. More arraignments for those arrested on College Street Saturday night will take place tomorrow.

Contact public affairs reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].