A female teacher who escaped jail a few years ago for having sex with a 14 year-old boy now faces the prospect of up to 15 years in jail for discussing life’s issues with a 17 year-old girl. Debra Lafave, a former model, was sentenced to three years under house arrest and seven years on probation during which time she was not only banned from teaching, but from having unsupervised contact with minors. According to the police report, Ms. Lafave talked with a fellow waitress at the restaurant about family problems, dating issues, school, and sex. Her probation officer found out about the conversations and ordered her arrest and is recommending harsh punishment.
The conversations between the two women took place at Danny Boy’s Restaurant, and the two females were never alone. They were merely doing what a million other working people do during the day, shooting the breeze in a calm or jovial manner, but to the probation they somehow constituted a violation of the probation. More than 700 customers of the restaurant signed a petition backing Ms. Lafave and many were furious at the ludicrous behavior of the probation officer. Dennis Cutini, owner of the restaurant expressed bafflement since there were always three of four people in the immediate area when the two women spoke. The lawyers for the 17 year-old girl support that view and insist conversations were just normal work banter. The only person who apparently is adamant about punishment, besides her probation officer, is the ex-husband who wanted Ms. Lafave jailed for the original offense.
Certainly, there must be something slightly more important to bother Florida’s court system than this silly incident. As Shakespeare put it, “much ado about nothing.”