|Debra Jean Beasley|
2011 Florida DOC mugshot
August 28, 1980 |
Riverview, Hillsborough County, Florida, U.S.
|Charge(s)||Lewd and lascivious battery|
|Penalty||Three years house arrest, seven years probation (probation terminated September 22, 2011; reinstated by appellate court August 15, 2012)|
|Spouse||Kristian Owen Lafave (divorced)|
Debra Jean Beasley, better known under her former married name of Debra Lafave, (born August 28, 1980) is a former teacher at Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida. She pleaded guilty in 2005 to Lewd or Lascivious Battery. The charges stemmed from a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old student in the summer of 2004. Lafave's lawyer argued that she should not be sentenced to prison because she was so attractive: "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," her lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, told a Florida court at the time. Lafave's plea bargain included no prison time.
Early life and education 
Lafave graduated from the University of South Florida, with a degree in English. After graduation she was hired as an English teacher at a middle school in Temple Terrace, Florida. She married Owen Lafave in 2003 following her first year of teaching.
The relationship 
Arrest and trial 
In May 2004, the boy and Lafave went to see his cousin in Ocala. The boy's aunt, alarmed that two teenage boys were hanging out with a provocatively-dressed woman, alerted the boy's mother. Under intense questioning from his mother, the boy admitted that the woman was Lafave. Officers in Temple Terrace 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 both Riverview, in Hillsborough County, and Ocala, in Marion County. A trial date was set after the defense would not agree on a plea bargain that involved prison time. Lafave faced a sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted.
Shortly before the trial was scheduled to begin, the boy's mother learned that Court TV was going to cover the first trial and could not promise that her son's identity would be kept private. The pretrial publicity was already taking a noticeable toll on him. Eventually, the victim's mother decided that sending Lafave to prison would not be worth the emotional trauma of the proceedings, as well as the prospect of having to do it all over again two years later since there were going to be separate trials in Tampa and Ocala. She asked the prosecutors to offer Lafave a deal that would keep her out of prison. Lafave pleaded guilty under the agreement and was sentenced to three years' of community control (house arrest) and seven years' probation. She effectively ended her teaching career with her guilty plea; her Florida teaching license was automatically revoked, and no other state will grant a teaching license to a convicted felon. Under the terms of her probation, she had to be home by 10 pm every day, could not leave Hillsborough County without a judge's permission, and could not be around children. She also had to register as a sex offender. There was widespread skepticism as to whether a man guilty of lewd or lascivious battery would have received similar treatment.
On December 8, 2005, Marion County Circuit Judge Hale Stancil rejected the plea deal, claiming that any agreement that didn't require Lafave to serve some prison time "would undermine the credibility of this court, and the criminal justice system as a whole, and would erode public confidence in our schools." He set a trial date for April 10, 2006. The Marion County state's attorney subsequently dropped the charges. In a statement, the prosecutors cited an assessment by psychologist Martin Lazoritz that found the victim would be so severely traumatized by a potential trial that it would take as long as eight years for him to recover. Based on this, prosecutors said that putting Lafave on trial would not be worth the harm to the victim's well-being.
Physical appearance 
Commentators have claimed that the attention given to this particular case arises from Lafave's physical beauty. Provocative modeling photographs of Lafave have circulated on the Internet since she first gained notoriety.
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.
She was arrested on December 4, 2007, for violating her probation by speaking with a 17-year-old female restaurant co-worker. The court ruled, however, that the violation was neither willful nor substantial, and did not revoke her probation. In July 2008, within the terms of her plea deal, LaFave petitioned to convert the remainder of her house arrest to probation, having satisfied other terms such as sex offender therapy and community service. Her petition was granted and her house arrest ended four months early. On October 29, 2009, it was announced that Lafave was allowed to have contact with some children.[dead link]
Lafave's ex-husband appeared on numerous talk shows regarding how his then-wife's crime had affected their relationship. He features in the documentary After School, which focuses on teacher/student relationships.
On September 22, 2011, LaFave moved to end her probation four years early, on account of having completed all other obligations, as well as recently becoming a mother. Her petition was granted and her probation ended that day. The victim's family stated that they would appeal the decision. The early termination of probation was reversed by the 2nd District Court of Appeals on August 15, 2012. Lafave has asked the Florida Supreme Court to reinstate her release from probation.  On January 24, Lafave was ordered to continue her probation while the Florida Supreme Court waits to hear the case. 
See also 
- Sexual harassment in education
- Female-male statutory rape
- Age of consent
- Pamela Rogers Turner
- Mary Kay Letourneau
- Colavecchio-Van Sickler, Shannon. Tampabay: Teacher considers plea deal in sex case, June 16, 2005. Accessed February 8, 2009.
- Lauer, Matt. Debra Lafave: Crossing the Line, Dateline NBC, MSNBC, September 13, 2006. Accessed June 26, 2010.
- "Debra Lafave: Crossing the Line, Dateline NBC". MSNBC. September 13, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- Time Waster. "Reading Teacher Booked". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-504083_162-10004533.html?tag=page
|url=missing title (help).
- Krause, Thomas W. Lafave Signs Plea, Tampa Bay Online, November 23, 2005. Accessed July 15, 2008.
- Rondeaux, Candace. No jail time for Lafave, St. Petersburg Times, November 22, 2005. Accessed July 15, 2008.
- "Court reverses decision, reinstates Debra Lafave's probation". Bay News 9. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Fatal Beauty: 15 Most Notorious Women, E! Network, June 6, 2009.
- "Hillsborough: Charges dropped against Lafave". Sptimes.com. March 21, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- Statement from Marion County state's attorney
- Wendy Cook (April 10, 2008). "Debra Lafave Sexy Photos Offer: Will Teacher Strip After Probation?". National Ledger.
- Jon Shanks (April 10, 2008). "Racy Photos of Debra Lafave Hot Again After Teacher Gets Off". National Ledger.
- "Detective investigating Debra Lafave has also been arrested" WTSB-Tampa Bay News Report, September 16, 2005 
- Debra Lafave: ‘I crossed the line’, MSNBC, September 12, 2006. Accessed July 15, 2008.
- WTSP – Tampa Bay's 10 News. "Debra Lafave arrested today". December 4, 2007 
- Former teacher who had sex with student back in trouble, CNN, December 4, 2007. Accessed July 15, 2008.
- Poltilove, Josh (September 22, 2011). "Debra Lafave no longer on probation". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
- CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/29/ap/national/main5453559.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody
|url=missing title (help).[dead link]
- "Tampa teacher who admitted sex with student let off probation early". CNN. September 22, 2011. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
- "Debra Lafave asks court to reinstate her release from probation". Tampa Bay Times. 12/7/2012. Retrieved 1/20/2013.
- Velde, Jessica (1/24/13). "Ex-teacher Debra Lafave officially back on probation". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 1/24/2013.