MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) – A teenager who organized a party that ended in $10,000 worth of damage to a former home of poet Robert Frost collapsed in court before being sentenced to a suspended jail term.

Andrew Ford, 18, was sentenced Tuesday to two years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and six to 12 months in jail, suspended. He also was ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution and complete an education program on Frost.

Deputy Addison County State’s Attorney Christopher Perkett said the idea behind mandating the program was to help Ford understand Frost and his influence on the world. The details of it haven’t been worked out, Perkett said.

The Dec. 28 party was held at a former summer home of Frost’s, the Homer Noble Farm in Ripton, which is owned by Middlebury College. The well-known New England poet summered at the farm from 1939 to 1963.

At the party, antique chairs were smashed and burned, fire extinguishers set off and windows and picture frames broken, according to the college. Police cited 28 people, most for trespassing.

Ford, of Ripton, pleaded guilty to trespassing and enabling the consumption of alcohol by minors.

He told Vermont District Court Judge Helen Toor he wanted to organize a combination New Year’s party and birthday party and thought the Noble Farm would be a good place for it. Ford gave money to an older friend to buy beer but didn’t expect so many people – some unknown to him -to attend, he said.

Toor gave Ford credit for taking responsibility for the fiasco, and warned him to stay out of trouble while on probation.

She went on to ask about how he was doing in school and he said not as well as possible, citing “motivational issues.”

As she questioned him, Ford appeared to pass out, falling to the floor. The courtroom was cleared for several minutes before the proceeding resumed.

His attorney, Frank Langrock, said Ford was feeling stress from the case.

Toor apologized.

“I was trying to scare you a little, but not that much,” she said, calling Ford “obviously a smart young man.”

Information from: Rutland Herald, http://www.rutlandherald.com/

AP-ES-03-26-08 0857EDT

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