Three teenagers arrested on Mayflower Beach Tuesday afternoon after allegedly having sex in the water while a crowd gathered to cheer them on, and a friend who police say didn’t listen when he was told to leave the area, will not be arraigned for at least six months, an Orleans District Court judge said.
Julianna Murphy, of Penfield, New York; Stephen Cerrone, of Quechee, Vermont; Lukas Kaminski, of Hopkinton, all 19, and 18-year-old Molly Hines of Penfield, New York, were each arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct on Tuesday after causing a scene at the crowded Dennis Beach, according to a police report.
The four teens and several adults shielded their faces from the public Wednesday in court, where Judge Robert Welsh III agreed to postpone their arraignments while they participate in a program for youth offenders.
Just after 1:30 p.m. on Independence Day, Dennis Detective Matthew Turner was approached by a beach monitor for the town of Dennis who reported that he had been told that several people were having sex in the water, Turner wrote in the report.
When Turner responded to the report, he saw four individuals, later identified as Murphy, Cerrone, Hines and a 17-year-old boy, “embraced with one another” about 100 feet from shore, Turner wrote.
“I could not observe exactly what was going on, however both couple(s) were extremely closely embraced,” he wrote. “Each embraced couple were at a minimum kissing and stumbling about in the waves.”
About 25 people onshore, both adults and children, were watching in “disbelief,” according to Turner. About 30 people in the water were watching the couples and cheering them on, he wrote.
A man with two small children said, “this is disgusting, why is this allowed to go on here,” Turner wrote.
After the teenagers did not respond to Turner yelling at them several times, or to a lifeguard’s whistle, the lifeguard entered the water and asked them to exit the water, the report says.
The couples didn’t respond and continued “embracing and kissing,” according to Turner.
When a second lifeguard went in after them, they began to come to shore, according to the report.
Turner detected a strong smell of alcohol and slurred speech from all four teenagers, who were yelling and crying for Turner to let them go, he wrote. About three hundred people gathered to watch the interaction, he said. Hines refused to obey Turner’s request for her to stay seated, according to the report.
Murphy, Cerrone, Hines and the 17-year-old denied doing anything in the water, and were placed under arrest for disorderly conduct, according to Turner.
Kaminski, who was not in the water with the others, was arrested after he repeatedly approached officers and the other teenagers on the beach despite Turner’s requests for him to leave the area, according to Turner’s report.
Ten additional officers were called to the beach to transport the teenagers and restore order on the beach.
“During the daytime hours at the height of Fourth of July, something like this is kind of rare,” Dennis police Lt. Peter Benson said. “We just don’t make a lot of arrests at the beach. Generally we get a family crowd going to these beaches and not causing incidents.”
Since June 1, there has been only one other arrest on the beach: an intoxicated man who was confrontational with officers, Benson said.
If police ever do respond to a town beach, it’s usually at night for people sneaking onto the beach after hours or underage drinking, according to Benson.
The arraignments for the four adults were continued to January. Between now and then they will meet with members of the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office, who will evaluate whether the Youthful Diversion Program would be appropriate.
The program is available to first-time offenders aged 18-21 who are charged with certain minor offenses.
“These young adults participate in appropriate counseling and education as well as community service projects,” according to a statement from the district attorney’s office. “Upon successful completion of the program, the District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute the case and there will be no record of the offense.”
The 17-year-old was ordered to appear in juvenile court on Monday, according to Turner’s report. The criminal records of juveniles are not publicly available.
Dennis Beach and Recreation Director Dustin Pineau said Tuesday’s incident may prompt town officials to start strengthening their enforcement of town bylaws related to alcohol.
“It’s been packed down there,” he said. “Everybody came down for the holiday weekend. There’s everything. There are families, there are senior citizens, there are 20-somethings.”
The 300-space parking lot was filled before 9 a.m. Tuesday, and many more people walked, biked, or were dropped off at the beach, he said.
Though the incident didn’t technically occur on Mayflower Beach property — it happened on the flats just below a neighbor’s private property — police might increase their beach presence or beach staff might start checking large coolers to make sure that people aren’t bringing alcohol or glass containers, which are both prohibited, onto the beach, Pineau said.
“I think that there’s always a certain group of people that are going to push the envelope,” he said. “And because of that, the police and ourselves are going to have to tighten down on the rules.”