The past several months have not been easy for Jane Bickley.
She lost her job as cheerleading advisor, she’s been vilified by her neighbors, and this week she was found guilty of providing alcohol to underage persons.
Bickley, 46, the former Huron High cheerleading advisor, was found guilty Tuesday in Huron Municipal Court on two counts of furnishing alcohol to persons under the age of 21.
She pleaded no contest to the charges. Two other counts of furnishing alcohol to persons under the age of 21 were dismissed, a court spokeswoman said.
Judge William Steuk fined Bickley $450 and sentenced her to 10 days in jail.
Steuk suspended the jail time on the condition Bickley is not charged for a similar offense in the next two years.
The case was the talk of the close-knit community of Huron in the days after Bickley’s March 15 arrest, and she was shredded in the online comments section of Register stories about the party.
“It’s been rough on me and rough on my kids,” Bickley said. “People are already trying to crucify me for something I didn’t do.”
Bickley and her husband, Shawn, were both at their home in the 100 block of Richland Ave. when the party was going on, but both contend they had no idea teens were drinking beer.
Shawn said he was sleeping, and his wife was with him in thecouple’s bedroom. The couple’s two teenage daughters were the hosts of the party.
“I never would have given any of the kids beer, or anything. I’m not like that,” Jane Bickley said.
Jane Bickley said her husband locked up the family’s liquor cabinet prior to the party. She said when she arrived home at11:30 p.m. she walked through the home to make sure no one at the party was drinking.
According to police about 50 teenagers were at the Bickley’s home in the early morning hours of March 15.
Police went to the house after receiving a tip of an underage drinking party in progress. When they arrived at the home they found a note on the front door advising partygoers to not answer the door if the cops came and that only girls who were spending the night at the home were allowed to drink.
Police entered the home while chasing a party-goer who fled when they attempted to question him. Once inside they found open beer cans. Four teens tested positive for alcohol on a portable breath test and were cited for underage drinking. Bickley was charged with four counts of furnishing alcohol to persons under the age of 21.
The Bickleys fought the charges. They hired defense attorney K. Ronald Bailey and filed a motion to have the police search of their home thrown out, arguing police did not have the right to enter without a warrant.
Steuk ruled against the motion.
Ultimately, Jane Bickley opted to plead no contest because she did not want to force the teenage friends of her daughters to testify in court. She also didn’t want to go broke attempting to clear her name.
“I don’t want to have all those kids go through a trial, and I don’t want to have to mortgage my house to go to trial either,” Bickley said.
The party ended Bickley’s career as a cheerleading advisor with the Huron Schools — a position she held off-and-on since 2001. Her two teen daughters are varsity cheerleaders this school year, she said. Coincidentally, Bickley attended cheerleader tryouts the night of the party. It would be her last act as cheerleading advisor.
“I’m still a cheer mom, and hopefully will be one for a couple of more years until my second oldest graduates,” Jane Bickley said.
The Bickleys could still appeal the case.