Sex Crimes in the Classroom

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 11, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Salorio has pleaded not guilty to charges of having sex with two of her students and inappropriately touching a third boy. All three students were under 14 years of age. Insiders we spoke to when the scandal first broke are shocked about their neighbor.


CHRIS HOWELL, NEIGHBOR OF ACCUSED TEACHER: Such a nice young lady, worked so hard to get her teaching credentials, and to have something like this step in and ruin her life and disturb her family's life is just unbelievable. We're at awe at our neighborhood. We can't understand it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this out of character for what you would expect from Sarah?

HOWELL: Oh, totally out of character. I've known her mom and dad 20 years, and known her and Chris for the last 12 years as being married, and very nice people, friendly, say, Hi, Good evening, outgoing, and very nice with kids around the street and stuff. And this is just totally shocking.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us from Orange, California, is Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas. We're also joined by Al Stokke, the attorney for the accused teacher.

Tony, this case is a little different than Pamela Turner in Tennessee. It's not one boy, it's three boys. Why did it take so long to sort of — if you're correct that she is doing these things — to catch up with her?

TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY DA: Well, the second boy went to his parents, and then the parents went to the authorities. So that's when it came out. But this took place over a period of time, a couple of years, actually. The first boy was 11 years old when it started and 13 when it was finished. And the second boy was, I think, 12 or 13 when it started. So it took place over a period of time, but you know, until one of the boys reported it, it was not known.

VAN SUSTEREN: Al, we know that down in Florida, Debra Lafave is going to raise an insanity defense. Have you had enough conversations with your client, and are you prepared, obviously, you don't have to, but can you give us an outline of what the defense is?

AL STOKKE, CLIENT ACCUSED OF SEX WITH STUDENTS: Good evening, Greta. I've spent a great deal of time talking with her, but I'm not a professional on that subject, so we're going to leave that to the professionals as we go along as to whether or not an insanity defense would be appropriate. We're exploring all possibilities as we prepare to defend the case.

VAN SUSTEREN: Al, do you find in your community, or do you suspect that it's going to be hard to get your client a fair trial, in light of the fact that I'm sure it has great notoriety in your community?

STOKKE: Well, I suppose that's always a difficult thing, but it seems that most of the time, we can find a fair set of jurors. You have to work at it, but I think we can.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tony, she's in custody on a $500,000 bond, right?

RACKAUCKAS: Yes, that's correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you believe, Tony, that if she were released from custody that she would be a danger to the community, even if she's not teaching, there is no set of circumstances that could give her her liberty until proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

RACKAUCKAS: Well, we certainly have concerns about that. You know, we have concerns about whether or not she might continue in committing these kinds of violations, particularly since there was some situation in court where she seemed to be mouthing, I love you, to one of the boys. So you know, that's pretty negative, as far as we're concerned.

But listen, I wanted to thank Al for letting you know that we expect to be able to give her a fair trial. I don't think there's any question about it. This is a big county, and we have a lot of people who, I believe, will be fair and impartial and take their job very seriously.

VAN SUSTEREN: Al, quick question to you. Does your client claim to love any of these boys?

STOKKE: Well, no, she is not telling me that at the present time, very definitely not.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Tony...

STOKKE: She's wanting to defend herself in the best possible way, and we're working hard at that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, thank you, Tony, Al. I appreciate it.

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