Former teacher won’t face sex crime trial
TAMPA, Florida – A former Florida teacher who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old boy will not have to stand trial on additional charges because prosecutors dropped those charges.
Debra LaFave pleaded guilty in November in Tampa to committing lewd and lascivious battery on a student who attended the middle school where she taught in Florida’s Hillsborough County.
Under the plea agreement reached with the Hillsborough prosecutors, LaFave, 25, was sentenced to three years of house arrest and seven years probation.
She faced additional charges in neighboring Marion County for having sex with the same student during a trip there.
Prosecutors in Marion County agreed to the same plea because the boy’s parents said they did not want him to have to testify at what was expected to be a widely covered and televised trial.
“I am very remorseful,” LaFave said at a news conference in Tampa. “I was very nervous (about a trial).”
LaFave said she has bipolar disorder and is receiving therapy for the mental disorder.
Her attorney, John Fitzgibbons, said last year that LaFave would be in danger in prison because she was so beautiful. She is a former model who posed in a bikini for a motorcycle magazine.
LaFave had taught reading at the Greco Middle School for two years until her arrest in June 2004. Her husband, who divorced her after she was arrested, has remarried. LaFave recently became engaged to a friend from high school.