The girls who came to these parties fell into two groups. There were those the guys had known for years and rarely had sex with. These girls provided companionship but without any pressure to perform sexually. Then there were girls whom the guys didn't consider friends and didn't especially want to be seen with in public but who were available for a quick sexual release without any pressure for the guy to be an involved companion.
And what assets did the girls need to be invited to a jock party? Looks counted for a lot, as did a nice body. Hairstyles were also important, and makeup—especially eyeliner—was a must. As for brains, it didn't matter whether a girl had one, as long as it wasn't exercised at social events. It was not a good move to put the boys at a disadvantage.
But the one nonnegotiable prerequisite for a girl's admission to the charmed circle was this: She had to be an unquestioning defender of the guys. The boys would permit girls a squeal of protest at behavior that might be considered offensive. But the protest had to be brief and lightened with a giggle. The ideal girl was easygoing, perky, patient and uncomplaining.
At parties, the jocks could be downright cruel to a girl they didn't especially like or thought they could take advantage of. A girl like Mary Ryan*.
Mary, a sophomore, was a quiet, somewhat passive young woman. She thought she might break into the school's social scene by giving a party in February 1987 at her home in nearby East Orange over the long Presidents' Day weekend, when her parents were going to be away.
The jocks were always drawn to a party out of Glen Ridge because if the local police busted it up they were less likely to inform their parents. "When you go out of Glen Ridge, you go crazy," one of the athletes recalled. "There are no neighbors to stop you or tell your mother."
The party began Friday night and continued nonstop through Sunday night. More than 100 athletes from Glen Ridge and neighboring towns showed up and wrecked Mary's house. By Sunday afternoon they had pounded holes three feet in diameter in the living room walls. Not a single piece of living room furniture remained standing. They dismantled her parents' bed and used the frame to slide down the stairs. They smashed all the balusters that held up the stair rail.
Many of the boys who later were present at the "party" with Leslie Faber in the Scherzers' basement showed up at Mary Ryan's house—Kyle and Kevin, Peter Quigley, the handsome co-captain of the football team, Paul Archer and his brother, Chris. People who were there remembered that Chris was one of the more enthusiastic partygoers: He spray-painted all the walls of the basement with graffiti.
Charlie Terranova*, a Glen Ridge student who wasn't part of the sports clique, showed up briefly on Sunday night. "The things I saw I could not believe," he said later. "I once worked for a construction company, and there were rooms in this house that looked like a construction crew had gone in there with the crowbars and pikes and destroyed the place. I just left. I couldn't stand it."
The more the jocks drank, the more vicious they became. One jock emptied a container of detergent into the fish tank, killing the fish. Another put Mary's cat in the microwave. Mary could smell the burning flesh. She begged them to stop. They didn't. She ran out onto the second-floor balcony and threatened to jump. Her voice was drowned out by the dozens of teenagers who gathered outside, chanting, Jump, jump, jump.