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Dedham police seek charges in connection with party where 17-year-old was pulled from pool

A 17-year-old was pulled from a swimming pool at a house at 36 Netta Road in Dedham during a high school graduation party last weekend and rushed to an area hospital.
A 17-year-old was pulled from a swimming pool at a house at 36 Netta Road in Dedham during a high school graduation party last weekend and rushed to an area hospital.Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

DEDHAM — Police are seeking to bring criminal charges in connection with a high school graduation party last weekend where a 17-year-old boy was pulled from a pool and rushed to an area hospital, authorities said Thursday.

In a brief statement, Dedham police said they’ve filed “criminal complaint applications” in Dedham District Court. Police said the misdemeanor charges include “furnishing alcohol to persons under 21 and reckless endangerment to a child.”

The statement did not, however, name the people that police are seeking to charge criminally.

“The names of individuals and details submitted to the Dedham District Court will not be public until such time as the Court makes a determination of probable cause and conducts an arraignment,” the statement said. “Further investigation into this incident remains ongoing.”

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The victim has been identified by friends and relatives as a 17-year-old Dedham resident who played high school sports, though authorities have not yet confirmed his name.

Officials have said previously that the boy was in critical condition at an area hospital. His current condition was not clear on Thursday.

A GoFundMe page set up for the teenager had raised several thousand dollars as of Thursday night.

Police said officers were called to 36 Netta Road in Dedham around 12:30 a.m. Sunday for a report of a 17-year-old who became “submerged in the water of a pool.”

Authorities have not said how the teenager ended up in the pool.

Town records show the home where the party was held is owned by James Coughlin, a former State Police captain and onetime Norfolk sheriff candidate.

Coughlin could not immediately be reached for comment and no one answered the door at 36 Netta Road when a Globe reporter visited on Thursday.

A lawn sign displayed in front of the Coughlin home Thursday said, “Dedham High Senior 2021.”

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A neighbor said the family had been celebrating the graduation of its youngest child. Three other families on the dead-end street displayed lawn signs indicating high school seniors lived there.

“I feel so badly for everybody,” said Peter Levangie, who lives on Netta Road but was on Cape Cod on the night of the gathering. “It’s just a tragedy.”

The street has 10 houses on it, including at least three occupied by members of a municipal police department or Massachusetts State Police, according to another neighbor. A Massachusetts State Police vehicle was parked Thursday on the street.

Dedham police said they have found evidence to support multiple criminal charges including providing alcohol to a minor and endangerment of a child. Because both are misdemeanors, police must seek criminal complaints through a clerk’s hearing.

Michael Tumposky, a Boston criminal defense attorney, said Dedham police are following standard legal procedure when the charges are misdemeanors, not felonies.

“The general rule is that the police cannot arrest for a misdemeanor unless they witness it. Domestic violence cases are the exception,” he wrote in an e-mail. “If there is no arrest on a misdemeanor, then you get a clerk’s hearing.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi. Jack Lyons can be reached at jack.lyons@globe.com.