Jack Rice - Blog

Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


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The Face of a Fantasy, or of a Sexual Predator? Or Both?

Debra LaFave. Florida resident. Middle school teacher. Child Molestor.
Today, Debra Lafave sat in Circuit Court Judge Wayne Timmerman's courtroom at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa, Fla. and . . . pleaded guilty to having sex with one of her 14-year-old middle school students in her classroom, in her home and in her car while the 14 year old's 15 year old's cousin drove. And yet, with all of this, LaFave will avoid going to prison.
I've been involved in both the prosecution and defense of sexual offenders in the past. I've stood next to people in court who have been charged and/or convicted of such offenses and have seen how people view men, yes men, like this. These men are almost universally seen as monsters, as Satan incarnate. But not Debra!
Debra reminds me of the French teacher in my Junior high school. All of the boys lusted after her. We all walked by her class room just to see her. To smell her perfume. Debra is like that. Boys seem to see her as a goal, as a fantasy. Apparently, not just boys.
Certainly, not as the Satan that I recall while standing next to those convicted of such crimes in courtrooms.
Did this play a part in her avoiding prison?
Life is fascinating. It is amazing what lovely blond hair and piercing blue eyes provides you.
I'm not suggesting that she does not have her mental issues nor a story that is probably much deeper than has been heard in the media. All sexual offenders have such stories. It is just interesting that people seem interested in hearing hers!
Lafave, 25, will serve three years of house arrest and seven years' probation. She pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman said LaFave also will forever lose her teaching certificate, must register with the state as a sexual predator, may not have any contact with children including the victim, and will not be allowed to profit from the sale of her story or personal appearances.
If convicted at trial in Hillsborough County, LaFave could have faced up to 15 years in prison for each count.
What part, if any, did gender or beauty, have in the outcome of this case? And if it did, why?