Montgomery County District Court, located in Rockville's historic district. Credit: Em Espey

Dozens of teens fled a party at a single-family Olney home late on March 26 as police approached, responding to multiple noise complaints. Inside, someone yelled “Hide!” as the blinds on the windows were yanked shut. When homeowner Julie Painter opened the door to greet the officers, they said she was “heavily intoxicated.” Inside, police found hundreds of bottles of alcohol and an “overwhelming odor of beer,” marijuana and vomit.

The scene painted by police reports and prosecutor Margot Wenzel was one of drunken revelry. Painter, 51 and single mother of two, pleaded guilty to four counts of supplying alcohol to minors arising from the party, which she admitted to hosting.

According to the plea agreement, Painter must undergo one year of unsupervised probation, pay a $1,000 fine and complete six hours of community service. She must also complete a victim impact panel to hear from neighbors and families affected by the incident, organized by national nonprofit Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The sentence could have been far worse. Painter initially faced 18 identical counts of supplying alcohol to minors—which could have cost her $87,000 in fines—but reached a plea agreement with the prosecution to strike 14 counts.

The plea hearing took place at 9:30 a.m. in Montgomery County District Court in Rockville. Painter appeared in court represented by attorney Jerry Hyatt and accompanied by her son, a rising senior at Sherwood High School.

According to Wenzel, Montgomery County Police responded to Painter’s house in an Olney neighborhood near Greenwood Park for “numerous complaints” of loud noise and reported finding approximately 30 cars lining the road outside her house. As the officers approached, Wenzel said they saw “seemingly impaired teens” running away from the house.


Painter opened the door to greet the officers, and they observed her to be “heavily intoxicated,” noting a flushed face, unsteady walk, droopy eyelids and the smell of alcohol on her breath, according to Wenzel. She said Painter admitted to being the only adult 21 or older in the house and estimated to police that at least 50 to 60 students had been on the property.

Police found “hundreds of bottles” of beer, hard seltzer and liquor littered around the house, according to the prosecution. The odor of fresh vomit emanated from a soiled bathroom, officers reported. In the basement, Wenzel said they found a drinking game set up near a sign reading “caution, drunks at play.”

In court, Hyatt said he had “no material objections or corrections” to the statement of facts read to Judge Patrick Mays by Wenzel.


Hyatt described his client as a lifelong Montgomery County resident who graduated from Rockville’s Richard Montgomery High School and works full-time as an executive assistant. He said Painter’s son’s baseball team throws “weekly baseball parties” and that this week it had been Painter’s turn to host.

“The party was out of control—no doubt about it,” he said, adding that while Painter did not purchase or supply any of the alcohol to the minors, she accepts full responsibility for the “reckless nature” of the party. “This is a big deal,” he said. “This could have been much, much worse.”

Although Wenzel said many of the party’s attendees successfully fled the property and avoided law enforcement, police detained 18 minors and issued each of them citations for underage drinking. Painter was issued a citation in relation to each detained minor.


Days after the incident, some neighbors became aware that a GoFundMe had been set up to help pay the fines associated with Painter’s criminal citations, which at the time the fundraiser goal totaled at $87,000. A screenshot of the GoFundMe was presented to the judge on Monday.

“Ms. Painter is a fun and wild party parent who just got hit with a $87,000 fine after throwing a rager,” the fundraiser description reads. “Help her get over this massive hump so she can get back to her normal life.” The text is accompanied by a photo of a smiling Painter holding an unknown beverage in a glass and posing with an underage boy.

Hyatt said the fundraiser was created by one of Painter’s son’s classmates without her knowledge or permission and was taken down within 24 hours once she became aware of it.


Addressing the judge directly, Painter said the night of the party she had stayed upstairs in bed watching television after a long workweek and denied any other involvement in the party. Nevertheless, she admitted that hosting the event was “reckless of me” and said she takes full responsibility for the underage drinking that occurred, calling it “not a normal occurrence in my home.”

Approximately 37 people in the U.S. die from drunk-driving crashes every day, according to national statistics—and teenagers make up the highest percentage of drunk drivers, data shows.  

Painter and her attorney declined MoCo360’s requests for comment on the incident.


A neighbor of Painter’s who did not want to be named because of worries about retaliation shared a copy of the now-inoperative GoFundMe and expressed deep concern about the gravity of Painter’s actions.

“It really irks me that this wasn’t even something where the kids tried to sneak in and party—she fully knew what was going on and enabled it,” the neighbor said. “I feel like there should be some awareness about parents who make these kinds of decisions for kids.”