St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Lafave granted break for interview

Published August 22, 2006

Debra Lafave wants a chance to explain her bipolar illness to benefit others, says her attorney John Fitzgibbons, on her left.

People on house arrest regularly get exceptions to go to church, attend a funeral or get a haircut.

Debra Lafave, the teacher turned seducer of a 14-year-old boy, got a break from her home confinement to sit down Tuesday with NBC’s Matt Lauer for an interview that will air on national TV.

Her probation officer didn’t agree to it. A judge and prosecutors did.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman, who accepted Lafave’s guilty plea to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in November, granted permission Monday for Lafave to be interviewed at the Westin Harbour Island Hotel and her home.

Lauer beat out Barbara Walters and scores of other media to get Lafave’s story for a Dateline special set to air in mid-September.

“Debbie really wanted to explain her bipolar illness in hopes that it might be beneficial to people when they hear about it,” her attorney John Fitzgibbons said.

 Court records show prosecutor Michael Sinacore didn’t object because 25-year-old Lafave was not compensated, a condition of her three-year community control.

Probation officials were okay with the NBC crew going to Lafave’s home, but they required a judge’s approval for the registered sex offender to visit a plush hotel.

People on house arrest, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff, are “supposed to be restricted to just normal activities.”

[Last modified August 22, 2006, 18:58:44]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters