Debra Lafave Explained

Subject Name:Debra Jean Beasley
Date Of Birth:1980 8, mf=yes
Place Of Birth:Riverview, Florida, U.S.
Charge:Lewd and lascivious battery
Penalty:House arrest (3 years)
Probation (7 years)
Status:Community control
Occupation:former teacher
Spouse:Kristian Owen LaFave (divorced)

Debra Jean LaFave, formerly Debra Jean Beasley, (born August 28, 1980) is an American model and former teacher at Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to statutory rape charges stemming from her having sex with a 14-year-old student in 2004, when LaFave was 23 years old.

Early Life and Education

LaFave was raised in a small town near Tampa, Florida. LaFave has claimed that she was raped by a boyfriend when she was 13 years old. By age 15, she was drinking heavily and had developed an eating disorder. However, her life appeared to turn around after high school. After reaching age 18, she briefly worked as a model for magazines. LaFave soon gave up modeling, however, and studied English at the University of South Florida, with the goal of becoming a teacher. [1] She maintained a high B average in college, and after graduation she landed a job teaching English at a middle school in Temple Terrace, Florida. After her first year of teaching, she married Owen LaFave in 2003.[2]

Arrest and trial

Investigating officers pursued the case after being notified by the 14-year-old boy's mother.[3] Officers tape-recorded conversations between LaFave and the boy, then arrested her at their next meeting. Two separate sets of charges were filed, because the alleged incidents occurred in two different counties. A trial date was set after the defense would not agree on a plea bargain that involved prison time.

Shortly before the trial was scheduled to begin, the boy's mother learned that it was to be covered by Court TV and agreed to a plea bargain with no prison time.[4] LaFave plead guilty under the agreement and was sentenced to three years of Community Control (house arrest) and seven years of probation, along with various other requirements.[5] There was widespread skepticism as to whether a man guilty of statutory rape would have received similar treatment.[4]

On December 8, 2005, the judge in the second county refused to accept plea-agreement terms that included no prison time and set a trial date for April 10, 2006. The prosecutor in that case later dropped the charges.[6]

Physical appearance

Commentators have claimed that the attention given to this particular case arise from Lafave's physical beauty.[7] [8] Provocative modeling photographs of Lafave have circulated on the Internet since she first gained notoriety.[8]

During the case her defense attorney made headlines by remarking to the media that "to place Debbie into a Florida state women's penitentiary, to place an attractive young woman in that kind of hellhole, is like putting a piece of raw meat in with the lions." In a book written by her ex-husband Owen Lafave, he suggests that this statement was an intentional ploy by the attorney.[9]

The Tampa Police Department also came under scrutiny when it was revealed they took graphic nude photos of LaFave while she was in stirrups in a jail cell. John Gillespie, the lead detective who requested the nude photos of LaFave, was arrested before the trial in an unrelated prostitution sting.[10]

Lafave later attributed her indiscretions to bipolar disorder, which is associated with intense and irregular mood swings, and with hypersexuality and poor judgment during manic episodes.[11]

Debra Lafave was arrested on December 4, 2007, for violating her probation by speaking with a 17-year-old female restaurant coworker.[12] [13] The court ruled, however, that the violation was neither willful nor substantial, and did not revoke her probation.

LaFave's ex-husband appeared on numerous talk shows regarding how his then-wife's crime had affected their relationship. He is in the documentary After School, which focuses on teacher/student relationships.

See also

External links

Notes and References

  1. Colavecchio-Van Sickler, Shannon. Tampabay: Teacher considers plea deal in sex case, June 16, 2005. Accessed February 8, 2009.
  2. Lauer, Matt. Debra LaFave: Crossing the Line, Dateline NBC, MSNBC, September 13, 2006. Accessed July 15, 2008.
  3. Tampa Bay Breaking News http://reports.tbo.com/reports/lafave/
  4. Krause, Thomas W. Lafave Signs Plea, Tampa Bay Online, November 23, 2005. Accessed July 15, 2008.
  5. Rondeaux, Candace. No jail time for Lafave, St. Petersburg Times, November 22, 2005. Accessed July 15, 2008.
  6. http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/21/Hillsborough/Charges_dropped_again.shtml Hillsborough: Charges dropped against Lafave
  7. News: Debra Lafave Sexy Photos Offer: Will Teacher Strip After Probation?. Wendy Cook. April 10, 2008. National Ledger.
  8. News: Racy Photos of Debra Lafave Hot Again After Teacher Gets Off. Jon Shanks. April 10, 2008. National Ledger.
  9. Gorgeous Disaster: The Tragic Story of Debra Lafave. Owen Lafave, September 2006. Publisher: Phoenix Books. ISBN 1597775347
  10. "Detective investigating Debra LaFave has also been arrested" WTSB-Tampa Bay News Report, 9/16/2005 http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=18971
  11. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14801562/ Debra LaFave: ‘I crossed the line’
  12. WTSP - Tampa Bay's 10 News. "Debra LaFave arrested today". December 4, 2007 http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=69112
  13. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/04/teacher.sex/index.html Former teacher who had sex with student back in trouble