Charges dropped against Debra LaFave in Marion County

11:16 PM, Mar 21, 2006   |    comments
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Marion County, Florida -

John Fitzgibbons, Debra LaFave's Attorney: "Well it's over. And this time this case is really over. And over for good."

Debra LaFave had just found out the Marion County state attorney dropped three charges against her. So she doesn't have to stand trial and risk a prison sentence on allegations she had sex with a 14-year-old student in Ocala in June 2004.

LaFave says she is recovering from a bi-polar disorder.

Debra LaFave, Sex Offender: "Mental illnesses are real and how they can cause good people to do bad things."

Marion County Judge Hale Stancil rejected a plea agreement for LaFave, prompting the state attorney to dismiss the charges against her.

State Attorney Brad King wrote, "The court may be willing to risk the well-being of the victims in this case in order to force it to trial, I am not."

LaFave agrees with the prosecutor's decision.

Debra LaFave: "The past two years have been hard on all parties involved. I pray with all my heart that the young man and his family will be able to move on with their lives."

LaFave thanked family and her new fiancée for their unconditional love and support. And LaFave admits she was nervous about a trial.

Debra LaFave: "As you can see my face has been plastered on every internet address, every new outlet, and that's not easy. It's not easy feeling the guilt and the remorse and having my own family suffer for my actions."

LaFave is already serving three years house arrest, followed by seven years probation in Hillsborough County for having sex with the same student in her classroom and in her home.

Debra LaFave: "I offer my deepest apology. I've been undergoing extensive therapy and believe it has helped me tremendously. I would hope that all media outlets will let us peacefully move on."

And despite the intense media interest in her case, LaFave says she is taking courses on -line to become a journalist.


Dave Balut, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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