During the last two weeks, three female teachers have been charged
with having sex with underage students in Tampa, Florida, stirring up memories of another notorious incident: Debra Lefave
was arrested in 2004 for having sex with a 14-year-old student.
First the middle school math teacher, Stephanie Ragusa, 28, was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old, according to the Tampa Police department. The investigators monitored phones calls between the two and Ragusa admitted having sex with the boy.
Last Thursday, Mary Jo Spack, a high school honors English teacher, was arrested for meeting with a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old student at a liquor store and taking them to a motel room, where she met more students. Spack was reportedly overheard having sex with one of the students, according to the police who arrested her.
And this Monday night, substitute teacher Lisa Marinelli, 40, a married mother of two, was arrested for having sex with 17-year-old student, who told the police that he had sex with her about 10 times. The police have phone records, text messages, underwear and their statements as proof.
One unidentified parent in Tampa told KNBC.com:
I just can't believe it's happening…I don't know what to think, or what's going through their heads.
Therapist Karen Duncan specializes in treating sexually abused women and children. She believes it's not that female teachers are abusing their students more frequently, but rather we are more aware of it when the crime happens.
Duncan told KNBC that the cultural belief that “boys can’t be victims and females can’t be offenders
” no longer holds water and we see more incidents like these the last 30 years.
Despite harsher punishments and being listed permanently on the sex offender lists, teachers continue to cross the boundary. Should the schools attach pay incentives to a morality clause?