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December 04, 2007

Debra Lafave arrested for probation violation


Remember Debra Lafave?  Deb is the sexy former middle school teacher who is currently serving house arrest for having sex with her 14-year-old student.

Well, now Lafave is in trouble again.  Evidently she broke her probation by talking to a 16-year-old female co-worker that the burger joint where they are both employeed.

This could potentially land Debra in prison for up to 15 years, but since the violation is somewhat minor she'll likey just get a slap on the hands.

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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While I'm normally rather unrelenting when it comes to child exploitation of any kind, this new case is ridiculous.

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.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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