Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This Just In: Debra Lafave Cops A Plea!

As a result of a plea bargain, former Florida teacher and now-admitted child molester Debra Lafave will not be going to prison: (emphasis added)
Before she could plead not guilty by reason of insanity to charges she committed lewd or lascivious battery on a teenager, Debra Lafave has pleaded guilty.

But, she will not go to prison.

The former Greco Middle School teacher, accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy, came to a plea agreement with prosecutors Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, Lafave, 25, will serve three years community control (house arrest), and seven years probation.

The judge said Lafave could have been sentenced to decades in state prison.

"I accept full responsibility for my actions," Lafave told the court.

Prosecutor Mike Sinacore said the victim's family wanted the case to come to a rapid resolution because of intense attention in the news media. [Ed's note: click on image for larger view.]

Although Debra Lafave's plea agreement is generous, her life will change dramatically.

She will be classified as a sexual offender, and must register in the state's law enforcement database. The Florida Department of Education Department will revoke her teaching certificate.

According to police records, Lafave performed oral sex on the unnamed boy June 3, 2004. Eleven days later Lafave had sexual intercourse with the boy in a portable classroom at Greco Middle School, police reports said.

School district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said Lafave was not teaching summer school and does not know why she was on campus the day of the incident.

Lafave was arrested June 21, 2004.

Her trial was scheduled to begin December 5.

Lafave's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, had suggested his client would plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Previously, Fitzgibbons told news reporters Debra Lafave was, essentially, too pretty for prison.
How on earth could there be no prison term for this monster? Could you imagine what the response from the courts would have been if Lafave had been a man?

It's decisions like this that leave more and more folks disillusioned with our criminal justice system.

The state had incriminating evidence. They had the witnesses. Both prosecutor and judge dropped the ball on this one.

What's next for Debra Beasley Lafave? A multi-million dollar layout in Playboy Magazine? A made-for-TV movie on Lifetime? One thing is likely, Debbie Lafave will soon be earning more bucks than she ever would teaching school.

Who says that crime doesn't pay? And what about the victim? Where's justice for him or his family?

This whole sorry episode reminds me of another "pretty" teacher-turned-child molester who also got a good deal from judge and prosecutor. Remember Mary Kay Letourneau? As a result of her plea bargain, she was turned loose from custody and promptly repeated the crime. Only then was Letourneau sent to the slammer for some seven years.

Related: Our coverage of Larry King's interview of Owen Lafave (her then-husband) back in January of this year.
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