LaFave cleared to have contact with children
TAMPA - Former teacher and convicted sex offender Debra LaFave can again have unsupervised contact with children, a judge ruled this morning. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne S. Timmerman cited the fact that LaFave completed court-ordered sex offender therapy this month. Prosecutors did not object, saying there was no legal reason to prohibit LaFave from appropriate contact with children. Under the terms of her sentence, LaFave is still not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of where children congregate or work or volunteer with children."This is another step along the way for Debbie," said her attorney, John Fitzgibbons. "She continues to do well." He said his client continues to receive therapy. "Today was a good step forward," Fitzgibbons said. LaFave had no comment. The former English teacher at Greco Middle School had asked to be allowed to have contact with a limited number of children of her family and friends as long as she was supervised and the parents agreed. LaFave was placed on three years of house arrest followed by seven years of probation after pleading guilty in November 2005 to having sex with a 14-year-old male student. In January 2008, a judge determined LaFave had violated the terms of her house arrest by having private conversations with a 17-year-old female coworker. But the judge chose not to impose any punishment because he didn't find the violation was "willful."
Reporter Tom Brennan can be reached at (813) 259-7698.