Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Castration Should Have Been Considered For Debra Lafave

The trial of former middle school teacher Debra Lafave, scheduled to begin December 5, 2005, is never to be. Sorry, tabloids, you’ll have to find another story to heat up the holiday season.

Lafave became a household name after she was arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old boy – one of her students – on several occasions. These include one tryst in a classroom, another in her own marriage bed and another in the back of a truck while it was being driven by the victim’s cousin.

Lafave does not deny these incidents occurred. But she did initially deny culpability; her defense team was planning a risky insanity defense.

Today, wearing the crucifix that has been with her since she was arrested, Lafave copped a plea in a Tampa, Florida courtroom which will allow her to avoid prison altogether. Instead, she will serve three years of house arrest, followed by seven years probation. She must also stay away from children, go through counseling, and must not profit from her story.

Lafave’s sentence isn’t so much a slap on the wrist as it is a disapproving glance. It certainly could have gone much worse for her she had gone to trial – she was facing up to 60 years in prison.

My question is, why wasn’t castration considered as a sentence?

I refer to the practice of “female circumcision,” where the most sensitive female parts are removed – often without anesthesia – so the subject is never able to enjoy sex. “Female castration” is the more accurate term for this senseless, cruel procedure which is still performed on girls in some African and Middle Eastern countries.

Those horrified by the notion of this happening to Lafave should remember that the equivalent has been done to men in this country for committing the same acts she committed on her victim.

I use the word victim here to counter the misconceptions Lafave’s defenders (apart from her legal team, that is) have about the magnitude of this crime.

The, er, thrust of their argument is that the boy was a willing participant who had a great time, so where’s the crime?

The boy may well have enjoyed the experience. Lafave is an attractive, young blonde who used to model bikinis. Indeed, many of us dreamed of getting to do exactly what this boy did when we were in middle school. However…

The criteria for establishing whether a crime has been committed in a case like this is not the quality of the sexual experience!

The boy’s level of enjoyment of the acts he performed with Lafave is irrelevant. Adults aren’t allowed to have sex with children, even if the sex is “good.”

The boy certainly wasn’t raped in the traditional sense. But statutory rape is a crime nonetheless.

And any lasting effects from the crime may not be evident for some time. The boy’s still young. He may grow up with a mistrust of adults or of authority figures in general. He may never have a normal sex life.

Many of the people who brush off this crime are the same people who’d be lining up to castrate an adult male teacher who had sex with a 14-year-old female student.

Imagine the outrage the multitudes would express were someone to suggest that the girl agreed to the sex and enjoyed it! This case has brought out the hypocrites in droves.

If the genders here were reversed, people would be howling for the teacher’s testes on a lance:

“If I were that girl’s father I’d ask the judge for 10 minutes alone with that guy. He’d never touch another girl again!”

No equivalent outrage seems to exist in this case.

Debra Lafave is young and misguided. While her criminal acts are inexcusable, neither her life – nor any part of her body – should be destroyed. But she should be suitably punished, meaning, as any pedophile would be.

Equal justice under the law is a concept our legitimate courts and our armchair judges should embrace. Anything less is hypocrisy.



Anonymous said...

She does need help, that's for sure!

Pete Bogs said...

she needs some punitive help, in my opinion... she got the best sentence she could have hoped for, short of an acquittal... it was disturbing to see her smiling on the way out of court, but not surprising...

Pete Bogs said...

At last, some average folks, male and female, are responding to this in a rational manner:

Kudos To This Judge

Regarding "Lafave's Plea Deal Rejected" (front page, Dec. 9):

Hallelujah someone finally found some common sense!
I was elated when I saw that Debra Lafave's plea deal was rejected. I was beginning to think that our justice system was becoming very "Hollywood."
Why is it becoming more and more prevalent in our society that pretty people are allowed to do whatever they want?
I think that Lafave deserves jail time and absolutely no special considerations! In fact, I think that she is even more pathetic than most sexual predators because she attempted to use her sister's tragic death as an excuse for being an immature and sexually deviant person.
In this day and age we need to have a no-excuses, first-strike-you're-out policy when it comes to sexual deviants.
Someone needs to set this woman straight and teach her that her physical attributes are not a get-out-of-jail-free card. She will have to pay the price just like every other sexual offender!
Kudos to that judge!


Looks Shouldn't Matter

Since when did it matter whether or not someone was pretty or not pretty in a court of law? This is totally ridiculous. If you commit a crime, you do the time, plain and simple. In this Lafave case, how did anyone accept the plea bargain in the first place? A sex-offense crime is one of the worst crimes that anyone can commit. Even worse is against a child! She did the crime and admitted to it. What more does the court system need? If it was a man or an older female, there would be no discussion about jail time. If someone committed this crime against a child of mine, I would make sure they stay in jail for quite some time regardless of age, gender or race.
If Lafave gets off, the legal system will lose all credibility in any sex offense case that may follow. I believe the law allows up to 15 years in prison for this offense. The prosecutors should use it or every case after this will crumble.
A more devastating thought is our children will be left unprotected against future violators knowing they can get off with a plea bargain. Serious criminals should not be able to plea bargain for any reason.

Winter Haven

She's Not A Celebrity

Excuse me, but when did Debra Lafave become a celebrity? I am embarrassed to be living in an area with a judicial system which bases punishment for crimes on the physical appearance of the criminal. I am even more embarrassed to be living in an area where a seated judge implies through his sentencing explanation that a 14-year-old student having an affair with his married teacher just got lucky.
Having seen photos of two other area teachers accused of the same offense, I can only assume they will go to jail if convicted due to the obvious fact that Playboy isn't interested in making them centerfolds.

Wesley Chapel

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