Owen Lafave on Child Sex Charges Against Wife
This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," December 2, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We're back with more on the shocking teacher sex scandal in Florida. Not long after Debra Lafave (search) was hit with criminal charges for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old student, she received some more bad news. Her husband Owen filed for divorce. He joins us now from Tampa. Welcome, Owen.
OWEN LAFAVE, DEBRA LAFAVE'S HUSBAND: Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: How you doing Owen, with all this attention on you?
LAFAVE: It's been a difficult time and actually I have worked through a lot of the issues and have kind of accepted what had happened, but this is just kind of reopening the wounds and it's just rehashing everything that I had already gone through. So it's been a difficult time.
VAN SUSTEREN: When did you first meet Debra?
LAFAVE: Actually I first met Debra in high school. Both of us at the time I think were interested in one another but you know, we were dating other people and I met back up with her in college and we started dating at that time.
VAN SUSTEREN: When did you marry her?
LAFAVE: I married her in July of 2003.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it was about 11 months later that she was arrested, is that right?
LAFAVE: That's correct.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now prior to her arrest, had you ever known that she was friendly to use a polite word or knew anything was going on with any students?
LAFAVE: I didn't expect anything to that extent. I mean she was friendly with a lot of her students and I knew that she was friendly with this student in particular but I mean, there was never any behavior or anything that would indicate to me that there was this type of behavior going on.
VAN SUSTEREN: So did she ever bring anybody into the home?
LAFAVE: I understand I guess she did at one time. Most of that information obviously I got through the police report, unfortunately.
VAN SUSTEREN: How did you find out that she was charged or going to be charged or that she was involved or at least allegedly involved with this student?
LAFAVE: I had actually, I was at work that day. It was a Monday. And her mother had called me and told me that she had been arrested and that she was being detained in a Temple Terrace police department.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was your first thought?
LAFAVE: I think my first thought was just utter disbelief. I mean, I can't even describe it. It was just an influx of indescribable emotions. I think I was literally in shock.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does it seem inconsistent with her behavior? I mean that she would — that it seems bizarre to you?
LAFAVE: It seemed absolutely bizarre and if it wasn't I never would have married her. This is just completely out of character.
VAN SUSTEREN: What did she say to you after she was arrested?
LAFAVE: You know, to be honest, Greta, right now it's a little sensitive. It was a private conversation. And I just don't feel comfortable disclosing the content of that conversation.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I take it that I mean I know that since you're involved in a divorce at some time that at least in your mind the marriage was over. Was that right away or did you have expectations of working through this problem?
LAFAVE: No, I pretty much at that time I knew the marriage was over. But as her husband, I felt it was my duty to support her through this as long as I could and unfortunately it just wasn't within me to see her through the end of this.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about her tonight?
LAFAVE: I wish her the best of luck. I don't wish her any ill will. It's a very difficult circumstance especially for her but her family and everybody involved with it and you know, I sympathize with her. So I just wish her the best of luck.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever seen or met this young man or I guess, boy, I don't know how to describe a 14-year-old.
LAFAVE: Right. Actually I did. I chaperoned a field trip at one point in time and I did have a brief encounter with him. Not really, not something that stuck out in my mind. I couldn't pick him out of a lineup. I do remember the occurrence. I do remember meeting him. I remember his name but outside of that, I just don't really recall.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he seem like a mature 14-year-old or an immature 14- year old? Did he make any impression on you at all?
LAFAVE: He just seemed like your average 14-year-old, possibly a little on the immature side, but I think at 14 everybody is to a certain extent. He was just your average, typical teenager.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you thought about the fact that it's likely, I mean, she faces an awful lot of time, that she is going to go to prison for this?
LAFAVE: I have thought about that. It is a very real possibility given the allegations and the charges against her.
VAN SUSTEREN: How would she do in prison?
LAFAVE: I can't imagine she would do well. I mean, she is just a very sensitive and — I just, you know, my heart breaks for her if she should happen to go to prison.
VAN SUSTEREN: If I ran into her in a grocery store or something and had a conversation with her what would — what would be my impression of her?
LAFAVE: I mean, she is a very sweet and caring person. And she is just a very generous and open in nature and you would come away with a positive impression of her. She was very highly thought of by her co- workers and friends and obviously family. I mean, she was just a very compassionate and sweet person.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is she a — I mean she is what, 23 or 24? How old is she, Owen?
LAFAVE: She is 24 now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is she a really young, child-like 24? Or is she a mature young woman? LAFAVE: Well, you know, I think at times she could exhibit some behavior that was a little child-like, but I think that was more or less just being cutesy. I heard the videotapes earlier and her intonation in her voice, it shocked me. It seemed out of character.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the insanity defense? Do you see anything at least in your mind that was so bizarre as to be insane?
LAFAVE: That's such a strong statement and you know, a hard position to defend. I'm going to leave that up to her attorney and the judge and the jury to decide.
VAN SUSTEREN: Owen, thank you very much. I very much appreciate you joining us. Thank you Owen.
LAFAVE: Thank you, Greta.
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