Monday, July 18,
TAMPA, Fla. — A teacher
will claim she was insane due to emotional
stress and did not know right from
wrong when she had sex numerous times
with a 14-year-old student, her attorney
"What teacher in her right mind
would do something like this?"
attorney John Fitzgibbons said after
a brief hearing for his client, Debra
Lafave (search), a middle-school reading
The judge agreed to appoint two mental
health professionals to evaluate Lafave,
24. Prosecutors have said a state
psychologist already determined Lafave
was not insane, while one hired by
the defense concluded that she was
Lafave's trial was set for Dec. 5
on four felony counts of lewd and
lascivious battery and one count of
lewd and lascivious exhibition. Each
carries a maximum 15-year prison term.
Fitzgibbons said plea bargaining broke
down because prosecutors wanted Lafave
to serve too much prison time, though
he did not give details.
"To place an attractive young
woman in that kind of hell hole is
like putting a piece of raw meat in
with the lions," said Fitzgibbons.
"I'm not sure she would survive."
A state attorney's office spokeswoman
didn't immediately return a call seeking
The boy told investigators he and
the teacher had sex in a classroom,
her house and once in a vehicle while
his 15-year-old cousin drove. He said
Lafave told him her marriage was in
trouble and that she was aroused by
the fact that having sex with him
was not allowed.