Published January 14, 2015
A 23-year-old middle-school teacher was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old student in a classroom, at her apartment and, once, in a vehicle while the teen's 15-year-old cousin drove.
Detectives said that the cousins provided matching statements incriminating Debra Beasley Lafave (search) and that the 14-year-old described Lafave's apartment and her tattoos and birthmarks.
Lafave, who teaches reading in the Tampa suburb of Temple Terrace (search), was arrested there last week on lewd and lascivious battery charges, accused of having sex with the teen earlier this month at her apartment and in a portable classroom at Greco Middle School.
She was out on bond on those charges when she turned herself in Monday in Marion County, about 80 miles north of Tampa, where the cousin lives. There, she is charged with lewd and lascivious battery and exhibition. She was released Monday on $25,000 bail.
Her lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, said he was not ready to respond to the allegations. "There is a presumption of innocence in this country," he said.
The teen told investigators that he and Lafave got to know each other during a class trip last month, and their sexual relationship began June 3.
The boy told detectives that Lafave told him that her months-old marriage was in trouble and that she was attracted to him because having sex with him was not allowed.
Lafave, who has worked with the Hillsborough County school system for two years, has been placed on administrative duty and could be suspended without pay at the next school board meeting, officials said.
In Marion County, authorities say Lafave had sex with the student in the back of her sport utility vehicle while the cousin drove them around the Ocala area.