Teacher convicted of having sex with teen arrested again
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A former middle school teacher serving house arrest for having sex with a 14-year-old student was arrested Tuesday for violating her probation, state records showed.
According to a Department of Corrections report, Debra Lafave discussed her personal life and other subjects with a teenage waitress at a restaurant where they both worked. One of the terms of her probation had been that she was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with any minors without permission.
Lafave could technically be sentenced to prison for up to 15 years for a probation violation, but people close to the case say it’s unlikely she’ll serve any time behind bars for such a minor offense.
Her attorney, John Fitzgibbons, said he was disappointed that her probation officer ordered her arrest for what he called an “insignificant” violation. He characterized the conversation between Lafave and the 17-year-old girl as “typical workplace conversation that women have with their women colleagues.”
“It was a workplace friendship – no more, no less,” he said.
Lafave, 26, is serving three years house arrest and seven years probation after pleading guilty to having sex with the 14-year-old boy in a classroom and her home in June 2004.
She was arrested Tuesday morning and released from jail later on her promise to appear in court for a hearing later.
State attorney’s office spokeswoman Pam Bondi said prosecutors will not comment on Lafave’s arrest until the court hearing.
Probation records show Lafave worked at a Tampa-area restaurant called Danny Boy’s until last month when she started working as a receptionist at her mother’s barbershop.
While working at the restaurant, the report said, she and a fellow waitress discussed “non-work related issues such as family problems, friends, high school, personal life, boyfriend issues and sexual issues. … (Lafave) received no permission from the court to have any contact with minors.”
Lafave was ordered by her probation officer to quit working at the restaurant “due to the current allegations,” the report said.
The teenage girl was interviewed as part of the investigation.
Fitzgibbons said Lafave has done so well on her first two years of house arrest that he plans to ask a judge to convert the final year of house arrest to straight probation, which is less restrictive.
The arrest surprised everyone, he said.
“I don’t think anyone felt this was a huge issue,” he said.
Other terms of her probation include sex offender treatment, random drug testing and 200 hours of community service, which she has already completed. She also is prohibited from capitalizing on the worldwide media attention she received after her arrest.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in November 2005.
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