Lafave Charges Dismissed
Debra Lafave was placed on probation in Hillsborough County, Florida for having sex with a minor student. As a condition of probation, she must serve three years of home confinement. That wasn't good enough for Judge Hale Stancil, who rejected a proposed agreement to have Lafave serve essentially the same penalty in a separate prosecution in Marion County, where Lafave allegedly had sexual contact with the same boy in an SUV. The deal, Judge Stancil said, "shocks the conscience of this court."
The agreement was proposed in large part because the minor doesn't want to testify in this well-publicized case. A psychiatrist told the judge that testifying would be harmful for the child, but the judge apparently thought the need to punish Lafave more harshly outweighed any harm that might be inflicted on the child if the case proceeded to trial. Today the prosecutor in Marion County decided to dismiss the charge.
Assistant State Attorney Richard Ridgway, in explaining the decision to drop the charges, said: "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."
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