Transcript: Owen Lafave Goes 'On the Record'

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," December 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Debra Lafave confessed to having sex at school with a young student and reached a plea deal to avoid jail time or so she thought. Then last week a judge ruled that the deal was no good and said she must go to trial.

Tonight, the mother of her alleged victim is fighting to keep the case out of court arguing that a trial would make things even worse for her son.

Joining us live from Tampa is Debra's ex-husband Owen Lafave, welcome Owen.


VAN SUSTEREN: Owen, are you surprised? The first judge accepted the plea. The second county judge said no to the plea. Are you surprised?

LAFAVE: You know, I had no idea. I thought this was pretty much a foregone conclusion. She would go into Marion County, be offered the same plea. She would accept it and we'd all be moving on with our lives.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you talked to her lately?

LAFAVE: No, I haven't talked to her in months.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's she like? I mean we don't know her. You know her.

LAFAVE: I mean, sure, I mean I think she's your average I guess 25 year old. I mean she was a great teacher, very compassionate, very driven and very dedicated to what she did.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you expect that she would end up in jail for these offenses?

LAFAVE: You know I really did and I think most of the country did, including the judge and that's why he was or he took the step to, you know, revisit the plea agreement that was offered in Hillsboro County. I think, you know, for the most part the general consensus of the public was that it was too lenient.

VAN SUSTEREN: Owen, do you have an opinion on whether or not the plea agreement she was offered was too lenient which basically led to house arrest?

LAFAVE: You know I think on the surface it does look too lenient but when you really get into the details of what the house arrest and the seven year probation entails, you know, I don't think it's a lenient sentence but I think to the average person it does look lenient and I do think a more appropriate sentence would have been some amount of jail time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Give me an idea. What do you think is appropriate?

LAFAVE: I think a year or two. I don't think anything excessive like the 30 years she was facing and I think 45 in Marion County. I think that's, you know, extremely excessive. But I think a year or two in conjunction with some psychiatric treatment would have been very appropriate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea what's going on with her? I mean here's a teacher from all accounts successful, an attractive woman, she's married happily, everything seems to be, you know, rather ideal and suddenly she's having sex with a student.

LAFAVE: You know it's something I'm absolutely befuddled by, you know. It came as a shock to me. We were newlyweds. The relationship was fine. It was very uncharacteristic of her to act in the way she did and I really don't know and it is an answer I've never gotten from her.

VAN SUSTEREN: First we heard that she's going to raise an insanity defense, anything peculiar about her during the course of your marriage that you picked up on?

LAFAVE: You know, she did have some emotional issues and she was being treated for those. You know nothing extreme, nothing that would cause concern or raise red flags.

Right, excuse me, prior to her arrest I'd say within two or three weeks, I mean she was acting very unusual. She was dressing in skimpy clothing. She began smoking, all of a sudden didn't want kids, listened to rap music, I mean so there were some behaviors that were extremely unusual.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you first get wind of the fact that there was trouble brewing?

LAFAVE: Really, you know, I had no idea until her mother called me the day she was arrested.

VAN SUSTEREN: And said what, your wife's in jail?

LAFAVE: Yes, she said she had been arrested for lewd and lascivious contact with one of her 14-year-old students and she, you know, she had been arrested.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was she released then that day to go back home?

LAFAVE: You know she wasn't and actually it took the course of that day and the following day to get a bond and to have her released from jail. She was facing charges in Marion County as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: What kind of explanation did she give you when she was finally released?

LAFAVE: You know, Greta, she gave me a number of explanations that really defied reason, didn't make a whole lot of sense and I just choose rather not to even repeat them to waste people's time.

VAN SUSTEREN: You've picked up the pieces. You've moved on haven't you?

LAFAVE: You know, I have. You know I've tried to, you know, put this behind me to the best of my ability. You know, I sought help and really have learned a whole lot, you know, about myself and really I find myself a lot stronger than I was previously. It's kind of hard to say but it's done a lot of good in my life and, you know, I'm looking forward to closing this chapter eventually.

VAN SUSTEREN: Once her case is over does it close it for you, I mean once she's either, you know, either in jail or on house arrest in the other county is it then over for you?

LAFAVE: You know I think so. I am working on a documentary called "After School" and, you know, I'd like to kind of take this situation that's happened in my life and make it good and educate people on, you know, what's happening in our school system and do my best to change it and possibly prevent something like this from happening again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think because she's pretty she got off easier than someone who might not be as attractive?

LAFAVE: You know I think that probably had something to do with it. I think the media attention and also the fact that she's a female probably had more to do with it than the fact that she's pretty. I think her attorney's comment that she was too pretty to go to jail probably played into effect the decision in Marion County.

VAN SUSTEREN: And if it were a guy, would a guy be treated differently in your mind than or should a guy be treated differently?

LAFAVE: I don't think a guy should be treated differently. However, I think in this case and in other cases I mean there is a definite double standard that women are treated lightly, more lightly than male sexual predators.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Owen, thank you very much and good luck, Owen.

LAFAVE: Thank you, Greta.

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