Judge Rejects Lafave Plea Deal

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A judge has rejected a plea deal in which a former teacher would have avoided prison time for having sex with a 14-year-old student, prosecutors said.

Under an agreement reached last month, Debra Lafave, 25, would have been sentenced to three years of house arrest and seven years' probation after pleading guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Had she been convicted of the charges at trial, she could have been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The agreement was meant to resolve charges in two counties, but a judge in one of the counties balked, Ric Ridgeway, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said Thursday.

Judge Hale Stancil set an April trial date, but Ridgeway said the attorneys will be back before the judge with a new deal by then. He didn't say what the judge's concerns were, only that he wanted changes.

The outstanding charges against Lafave claim she had sex with the boy in a sport utility vehicle while his 15-year-old cousin drove.

Defense attorney John Fitzgibbons said the judge indicated he wanted to hear expert information about a trial's potential impact on the two boys.

Last month, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman said LaFave, whose sexual liaisons made tabloid headlines, 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. He also said she will not be allowed to profit from the sale of her story or personal appearances.