Ruskin, Fla - (The Weekly Vice) - For those who have been feeling a little Teacher Sex Scandal deprived, Debra Lafave has felt your pain. Lafave is back in the news after allegedly having contact with a 16 year old minor in violation of her probation.
In 2004, Debra Lafave became a household name after she was arrested and charged with having sex with a 14 year old boy. Her case quickly gained popularity when sexy modeling photos of her surfaced shortly after charges were announced.
Her status as a middle school teacher and apparent attractiveness bolstered the case quickly. It also deepened the debate about child predator law, and what appropriate punishment for these kinds of acts should be.
Lafave plead guilty in 2005 to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors. The sentence provided that Lafave would not serve jail time, but would remain under house arrest ( community control ) for three years. If she completed the first two years of community control without violating her parole, she would be allowed to petition the court to convert the 3rd year to probation.
Her sentence also provided 7 years of probation, orders to attend a sex offender treatment program and explicit instructions that she not have contact with any person under the age of 18.
Details Of The New Charges
According to a Department Of Corrections spokeswoman, Lafave was having "intimate discussions" with a 17 year old female coworker while employed at a Sun City Center restaurant. "Lafave talked with the coworker about their boyfriends, violating terms of her probation that prohibit her from having unsupervised contact with minors."
Lafave is expected to appear before Circuit Judge, J Rogers Padgett on January 7th, 2007 to answer the new charge.
Curiously, patrons of the restaurant Lafave worked at during her parole have signed a petition requesting Lafave's release from the charge and that she be allowed to return to her job as a waitress. "We feel it is terrible that they are raking her over the coals again," said Ed Leary, a 78 year old petitioner.
Scott Griffin, the manager of the restaurant said that everyone there was "shocked" by the arrest. He said she never waited on minors and he never saw her talk or act inappropriately with a minor or anyone else. Hostesses knew not to give her a table with minors, he said.
The Weekly Vice Reaction:
While we at the Weekly Vice are normally rather unrelenting when it comes to child exploitation of any kind, this new case is ridiculous. It's obvious from the reactions of the store manager and patrons, that a dilligent effort was made from all parties to keep the employment arrangement as compliant with the court's wishes as possible. But why was this employment approved by the parole officer to begin with?
Those on parole are normally expected to report employment changes to the parole officer, especially while under house arrest. Since officials in this case were aware of Debra's employment, part of the blame belongs to them. Maybe all of it.
Just about everyone knows that restaurants regularly recruit teenagers to staff their establishments. How does one work side by side with a minor without establishing contact?
Restauraunt employees are expected to communicate and work as a team. Waitresses, hostesses, kitchen employees and management are always communicating with each other in order to expedite hot food and cleanliness expectations of the customer.
This case is a sham, as it would appear at this point that parole officials are either dumber than a rock, unrealistic in their expectations, or simply fell asleep at the wheel.
The Parole Officer could have rejected this employment arrangement altogether, knowing that contact with minors was an unrealistic expectation of this kind of employment. Instead, thousands upon thousands of tax dollars will be spent prosecuting a case where the arrangements were dubious from the start.