Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Anyone She Wanted: The Sexual Offense of Debra Lafave

Illegal Acts

Lafave offered the boy a ride after school to get his hair cut. She was soon taking him to his games. Owen was busy at his job, unaware of the many hours she was spending with M. M. or talking to him on her cell phone. Sometimes she even stayed out after Owen had arrived home, but she always had an excuse ready. He did not know that she was complaining to other teachers that she was sexually dissatisfied. And there were other things he also did not know.

The teachers were aware that the boy had a crush on Lafave, but some also heard how she liked to talk about him as well. Some were uncomfortable and thought she was becoming unprofessional, but no one checked into the matter. And apparently no one suspected what was to come.

On the last day of school, Debra put M. M. on "detention" as a way to get him alone with her in her portable classroom. Two other boys were invited to help her pack up her items in preparation for the summer, but they left when the day was half over. At this point, Debra lifted her shirt, showing part of her bra to the boy, who was now alone with her. He would later say they had exchanged kisses. (She would later say he had forced her into this position.)

Even after school was over, Lafave continued to chauffer the boy around. It was Lafave who broached the possibility of a relationship, because she had feelings for him. They were already kissing on a regular basis and she was apparently prepared to move things to another level.

In early June, M. M. went to Ocala to spend a week with his cousin. He stayed in touch with Lafave by cell phone, but she was apparently dissatisfied with this long-distance arrangement. By mid-week, she had driven the distance to spend time with him, face-to-face. In an egregious violation of boundaries, she picked up both boys and took them back to her home. There, while the cousin watched a movie, she took M. M. into her bedroom and performed oral sex on him. She then admitted to his cousin that she'd done so.

On the trip back to Ocala, Lafave went even further in her transgression: She turned the car over to this boy, only 15 and in possession of just a learner's permit, so she could continue her tryst. Once again, she orally gratified her inamorato — with his cousin there in the car. There was no mistaking how bold she'd grown. She'd groomed M. M. for this and now she was making her move.

Those who knew Lafave had watched her over the past several months transform into a girl of 14. She was skinnier then ever, wore clothes like the kids she taught, and even pulled her blond hair into pigtails. She apparently wanted to seem to the boy more like a girlfriend.

On June 14, 2004, Lafave picked him up so they could spend some time together. They went to her former classroom. She had no business being on campus that day, two weeks after the semester had ended, but with the windows of this room blacked out, it apparently seemed the right place to consummate their relationship with sexual intercourse. He was ready, too, though he was a virgin. Without much foreplay, as Owen describes it, they got right into it, and within ten minutes or less the boy was now "experienced." They were now officially lovers.

The next offense again took place while the cousin illegally drove the car once again and this time, using the rearview mirror, he was able to see them engaged in intercourse. Lafave then bought liquor — another illegal act if she gave it to the boys. Apparently, once she'd crossed the line, she didn't much care about whatever else she might do. She had a boyfriend.

Yet after their third session with intercourse, the boy said he wanted to take a break. Owen says this surprised Debra. Apparently, she was in her own fantasy and it was supposed to go as she choreographed it. Yet M. M. was getting uncomfortable.

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