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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore Presentation: Owen Lafave, Husband of Florida Teacher Accused of Having Sex with 14-Year-Old Student Speaks Out
Aired August 7, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a presumption of innocence in this country, or anyone charged with a crime. And we hope that everyone would listen to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he thought he was happily married to his beautiful, blond school teacher wife until accusations she had sex with a 14-year-old student at their home, in their car. Owen LaFave speaks out about his ex-wife, the notorious teacher Debra LaFave, next in an encore edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Owen LaFave was our exclusive guest back in late January. And since then, several more stories of female teachers having sex with their young male students have surfaced from Tennessee to Texas to upstate New York. And since this show first aired, Owen and Debra LaFave have divorced. Owen filed for that divorce last August after 24-year-old Debra was arrested for allegedly having multiple sex encounters with one of her 14-year-old 8th grade students.
She faces trial in December. If convicted, she could get a maximum of 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. She has plead not guily. And her attorney plans the defense of insanity.
And now our interview with Owen LaFave.
First what happened to your arm?
OWEN LAFAVE, WIFE CHARGE WITH SLEEPING WITH STUDENT: Don't you remember, you beat me up in the hall way. No. Actually, I wish I had a story to tell you, but I stretched the ligaments in my shoulder lifting weights about 7 months ago, and just recently had them surgically repaired.
KING: You're a banker?
LAFAVE: I'm a banker.
KING: You'll never pitch again?
LAFAVE: I never will. KING: You're on the disabled list.
KING: This is -- this is kind of strange to even talk about, I get, it's not the sort of thing you can prepare for.
How did you first find out about what happened with Debbie?
LAFAVE: I was actually at work that day, and her mother, actually, called me on the telephone. So, she had been arrested, and was being held at a local police department.
KING: What did the mother say?
LAFAVE: Well, you know, she called me up. And her mother and I had a very good relationship. And so, initially I just started joking with her. And she said, no, this that serious matter. You know, I'm not joking. And Debbie's been arrested. She's accused of having lewd and lascivious conduct with one of her students.
KING: First reaction?
LAFAVE: I don't know that you can reaction. You can't open up the book of life manual and find a way to react to that. I think I just went numb. I was in shock.
KING: So, you had no predication of this?
KING: None at all.
LAFAVE: I didn't have an idea.
KING: How long were you married?
LAFAVE: We were married for 11 months at that time.
KING: Was it a happy marriage?
LAFAVE: It was a very happy marriage. I mean, we were newly weds. I mean, life is -- could have never been better.
KING: How did you meet?
LAFAVE: So, we actually meet each other in high school.
KING: Oh really?
LAFAVE: And both of us were interested in each other.
KING: About the same age?
LAFAVE: She's two years younger than I am. But we were interested in each other and just circumstances at the time, we were involved with other people. We just never dated. And I met back up with her in college and we started dating then.
KING: Had a big wedding? I can see the looks a very nice wedding. We're you married in Tampa?
LAFAVE: Yes, in Tampa. Down in Tampa.
KING: Nice honeymoon?
LAFAVE: Beautiful honeymoon.
KING: Where did you go?
LAFAVE: South Saint Lucia (ph). (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the all inclusive Sandals Resorts and we had a great time.
KING: Was she -- I mean, beautiful girl, right.
KING: Was she flirtatious by nature?
Were there ever signs, as you must think -- it must drive you nuts. Were you ever thinking, looking back, should I have seen something?
LAFAVE: You know, I think it's natural to do that in this circumstance. But I don't know. The whole thing is really a shock to me. I could have never imagined anything like this would have ever happened.
KING: So, it's no indication, no sign at all?
KING: All right, what then did you do?
Did you confront her?
Did she get bail right away?
LAFAVE: No, she didn't get bail right away, because she was facing charges in another county as well. So we made the decision at the time...
KING: What do you mean "as well?"
LAFAVE: Apparently somebody -- the actions took place in a county north of Hillsborough County, which is where Tampa is located.
KING: Doesn't she teach in Tampa?
LAFAVE: She teaches, yes, in Tampa.
KING: But the actions took place not where she teaches?
LAFAVE: No. Well, actually some of them, I guess apparently, according to the police reports did take place where she taught, as well as our home. But also at this child's cousin's home in Marion County, which is north of Tampa.
KING: So, she didn't get bail right away?
LAFAVE: She didn't get bail right away. She spent the first night in jail and the ensuing days we bailed her out.
KING: When was the first time you saw her after the arrest?
LAFAVE: That was the following day.
KING: At the jail?
LAFAVE: At the jail. So, actually, I was in a separate vehicle when she was released. So, the first time I actually spoke to her was at her parents' house.
KING: Here father was there, her mother?
KING: She have brothers and sisters?
LAFAVE: She had one sister, and her sister passed away, was killed by a drunk driver.
KING: You have brothers and sisters?
LAFAVE: I'm an only child.
KING: Your parents living?
LAFAVE: Very living.
KING: Did they like her?
LAFAVE: You know, my father actually did very much so. My mother, you know, they had their differences. I wouldn't say dislike because she did love her and accept her, but they had their differences.
KING: All right, what was -- tell us -- describe the scene in the parents' house. Were they there when you got there?
LAFAVE: Yes, they were there. You know, we got to the house at the same time. She went to the bathroom.
KING: Were you alone?
LAFAVE: Yes. She went to the bathroom with her mother and she had then taken a shower, because I imagine she didn't take one at jail the night before. And when she got out, we did have our private conversation.
KING: What did you say? LAFAVE: Well, unfortunately, because of the criminal proceedings, I just, you know, can't reveal the contents of that conversation. But obviously, I wasn't happy. And it was just a very emotional and intense conversation.
KING: You're going to be called upon -- you may not be called upon to testify. You're not a witness, are you?
LAFAVE: No, I'm not a witness.
KING: You don't know that a crime -- you never saw a crime committed.
LAFAVE: I never saw. So I mean, I haven't been summoned yet. So, at this point in time, I intend not speaking in court.
KING: So, why can't you discuss it?
LAFAVE: Just because I don't want to adversely effect her criminal trial.
KING: You filed for divorce?
LAFAVE: I did.
KING: Where is that proceeding?
LAFAVE: That's -- it's moving along, it's taking its course. It's taking a little longer than I anticipated, but I think it's coming to head. I had my divorce deposition last Thursday, so we able to agree upon a lot of things. And I think it's...
KING: Shouldn't be too difficult based on the circumstances and no children, right?
LAFAVE: No children. No children. You would think so, but it doesn't always work that way.
KING: Were you planning to have children?
LAFAVE: Down the road, yes. She wanted to have children sooner than I did, but we preparing for the next stage of our life. We were building a house, we currently own and lived in a townhome at the time. We're building a house a little farther south, closer to our parents that had a school in the neighborhood and as well as a daycare center. So, that was kind of the next phase of our life.
KING: How did they catch her?
LAFAVE: They actually, from what I understand, from the police reports, the boy was bragging to a friend or cousin and the mother had overheard her. And the police department had taped phone conversations between her and the student.
KING: They got the boy to participate in the taping?
KING: You know the boy?
LAFAVE: I met the boy one time very briefly.
KING: Since this happened or when she was teaching?
LAFAVE: When she was teaching, prior to.
KING: How did that happen?
LAFAVE: So, I actually chaperoned a field trip. And we met very briefly. And I don't remember much about the encounter and the only reason I remember him was because of what he was wearing.
KING: What was he wearing?
LAFAVE: He was wearing a UPS sports jersey with a UPS hat on, you know, cocked sideways. He looked like a 14-year-old kid.
KING: Now, the Florida authorities released, we're going to be playing these (UNINTELLIGIBLE) throughout the show. Early last month the Florida authorities released audio tapes of controlled phone calls between Debbie and her alleged 14-year-old victim. The boy's voice is distorted to protect his identity.
In one phone call, you can hear the boy express concerns about getting Debbie pregnant. It's about 11:20 a.m., June 18, last year. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
14-YEAR-OLD-BOY: Like I don't want you to like get pregnant or anything. I was just thinking about it and I was just think if next time, now that we've had sex about three times, if I should use like a condom or something.
DEBRA LAFAVE, ACCUSED OF HAVING SEX WITH STUDENT: Oh, you're being weird.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: How do you feel when you hear that?
LAFAVE: Yes, when they were first released I actually forgot that they were going to be released that day, and I was caught off guard. I don't know who that is. I mean, to me that sounds like a little girl.
KING: That girl you don't know?
KING: It sounds like...
LAFAVE: It sounds like a little girl. Absolutely. So, when I heard those tapes, it was disconcerting.
KING: Yes. How -- would you say you had a good sex life with your wife?
LAFAVE: Absolutely. I mean, we were newlyweds. What could have been wrong?
KING: We'll be right back with Owen Lafave. We will be including your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) please. Back up please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-three-year-old Debra Lafave would say nothing as she left the Marion County Sheriff's Office. She had turned herself in. The middle teacher is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student in the back seat of her car in Ocala.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Owen Lafave says life after the arrest was unbearable, but he planned to stand by his wife, despite pictures and video of their wedding splattered across the Internet and despite a widely publicized police report detailing the accusations against his wife, and claims that Debra Lafave sought the affair with the student because she was having sexual inadequacy problems with her husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Owen Lafave. That is untrue, right?
LAFAVE: That is untrue.
KING: No sexual inadequacy at all?
LAFAVE: We had no problems.
KING: Unless she was faking it to you or something.
LAFAVE: I guess that's always a possibility.
KING: When you -- it says you're standing by her. Are you standing by her?
LAFAVE: I don't wish any ill will towards her.
KING: You don't want her to go to jail?
LAFAVE: You know, that's a hard question for me to answer. I don't wish her any ill will. I do hold a sense of compassion for her. I feel genuinely sorry for her. I think she should be punished. But whatever that punishment is, I'm glad I'm not making that decision.
KING: Where is she now?
LAFAVE: She is living in her hometown, Ruskin, Florida, close to her parents.
KING: By herself?
LAFAVE: As far as I know, by herself. But her and I really haven't been in contact since I filed for divorce.
KING: When was the last time you spoke to her?
LAFAVE: I did speak to her this Thursday at the divorce deposition.
KING: She was there, you were there?
KING: You exchanged some -- well, you had exchange if you're dealing with, you get this, I get this?
LAFAVE: Exactly, exactly.
KING: How is she dealing with it?
LAFAVE: She's having a rough time, I mean, understandably so. She -- you know, I -- to be honest I don't know at what level she is at. But I know she is having a difficult time dealing with it. I mean, you can see it on her face, you can see the stress, and you can see that it's taken a toll on her to a certain extent.
KING: Well, like when you were in the deposition with her, was it obvious to you that she was very different than when you were together?
KING: Now, let's go back a little. Is it true that she had a relationship with a woman or a girl in high school?
LAFAVE: It is true. I think that's been exaggerated to a certain extent. There was an incidence with another female student at the time, and I think that's just been blown up to a lot more than what it is. It's something that she's regretted since then.
KING: Has she talked to you about it?
LAFAVE: Sure. Sure, we had a conversation about it.
KING: In other words, she had an adventure of a lesbian type one time. She was not a lesbian, right?
KING: But she had an adventure once?
LAFAVE: I guess you could call it that.
KING: In high school. Did she have a lot of boyfriends?
LAFAVE: She did. She did. She had a few.
KING: Would you call her promiscuous?
LAFAVE: I wouldn't call her promiscuous, no.
LAFAVE: Not so much.
KING: Was she a good teacher?
LAFAVE: She was an excellent teacher.
KING: Is it true that one of your men, the ushers at your wedding warned you?
LAFAVE: Not me directly, no. This is something I found out after she was arrested. Two of my groomsmen actually went to my mother the night before we were married and asked my mother to stop the wedding.
LAFAVE: Because they thought she was wrong for me.
KING: Have you spoken to them since?
LAFAVE: Sure. Sure. I'm in contact with them all the time.
KING: And what do they say?
LAFAVE: They just -- you know, they thought that she was not the right girl for me, they thought I was making a mistake. They still feel it was the right decision to go to my mother. And my mother said to me at the time, said if you're really a true friend, you need to stand by his side and see him through the wedding as well as the relationship.
KING: Your father liked her more than your mother?
KING: How does your father feel now?
LAFAVE: My father's crushed. So I think my whole family's crushed. So we have all had a hard time with this, you know, my mother and my father both. But that being said, they stood by my side and supported me. And my relationship with the two of them has never been stronger.
KING: How about her parents?
LAFAVE: Her parents...
KING: Who you got along with, right?
LAFAVE: I did get along with them. So they were like family to me. My mother's here in Tampa -- well, not here in Tampa, but I live with my mother in the same city of Tampa. My father lives in Wisconsin, where I'm originally from.
KING: They're divorced?
LAFAVE: They're divorced. So Debbie's family kind of took me under their wing, since most of my extended family is all in Wisconsin. So I had a very close relationship, almost, you know, father/son, mother/son relationship with her parents as well as a very good relationship with her extended family.
KING: And how are they doing, her parents?
LAFAVE: They are not happy with me. So I think they hold a lot of resentment and animosity towards me because I haven't stood by Debbie's side through all of this.
KING: They're mad at you divorcing her?
KING: And they said that to you?
LAFAVE: They haven't come out and said it. But just through dealing with the divorce, they've made it difficult on me at times.
KING: What do they expect you to do?
LAFAVE: You know, I think a lot of it has to do with my initial conversation with them. I promised them -- and this is something I have a hard time dealing with myself -- although I still think it's the best decision. I promised them that I would stand by her side until this was done. I just had no idea what I was promising. So -- actually living through it and living day-by-day with her, trying to maintain a normal life, it was just something that was unbearable.
KING: You couldn't handle that?
LAFAVE: I couldn't do it.
KING: You would think they would understand that?
LAFAVE: I think it's a means for them to shift focus off of what really happened, and allow them to vent some of their anger towards me.
KING: Did Debbie want to stay married?
LAFAVE: She did initially. But I think I was pretty convincing in the fact that it wouldn't work, and she accepted that. KING: Another phone call between Debbie and the alleged victim about 9:00 a.m. on June 18th of last year. The boy tells Debbie that he had an argument with his mother the previous night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA: Yeah, I called her when I got home last night.
BOY: Oh, how did that go?
DEBRA: I was -- I mean, I just told her, I was like, you know, I'm sorry, bad judgment and I should've double-checked with you, blah, blah, blah.
BOY: Uh-huh. Well, I guess I don't think we should be going to Ocala anymore.
DEBRA: No, no.
BOY: But everything went smooth in the portable.
BOY: So, whatever, if we decide to do anything again, then that should probably be our place for now.
DEBRA: That's true. Are you OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you have any idea how it started?
LAFAVE: Honestly, no, I have no idea. According to the police report, it started at our townhome.
KING: At your house?
LAFAVE: At our house.
KING: Where were you, were you out of town?
LAFAVE: No, I was at work. So -- and she's a teacher, so she was off of school for the summer.
KING: Oh, summer.
LAFAVE: Right. It was summer break. And apparently, the boy and his cousin came over to the house. And according to the police reports, that's when the first incident occurred.
KING: The cousin was there?
LAFAVE: The cousin was there.
KING: Did he leave?
LAFAVE: No. Apparently he stayed downstairs while she escorted the boy up into our bedroom.
KING: We'll be right back with Owen Lafave. At the bottom of the hour, we'll go to your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FITZGIBBONS, DEBRA LAFAVE'S ATTORNEY: As we told the court, I anticipate that we will shortly be filing a notice of insanity defense on behalf of Debbie. For the last several months, we've had some doctors evaluate Debbie and also review a number of medical records, going back a number of years. Debbie has some profound emotional issues that are not her fault. I think once anyone reads what the doctors have to say, they will understand a lot more about what happened here. And again, that it will be something that will not necessarily be Debbie's fault. Otherwise, that's all we have to say today. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. The lawyer's saying that she obviously had emotional problems. Did you ever see any of those?
LAFAVE: She did have some emotional problems I was aware of. However nothing to the extent that I thought it would lead to anything like this. She was on some mild anti-depressants and she did see a counselor for a short period of time but nothing that I was aware that was not manageable.
KING: Was she moody?
LAFAVE: That's a hard question because we all are. Nothing to the extreme.
KING: What kind of teacher was she?
LAFAVE: She was a reading teacher. As far as the quality you mean? She was an excellent teacher. She was very well respected. She had receive awards based upon her teaching ability. She was in the newspaper once or twice, she was an excellent teacher.
KING: One teacher said that her behavior changed in the spring of 2004. Usually very strict, became a lot more casual. When this was going on now in retrospect, did you see, as you look back, see any changes?
LAFAVE: There were some changes. Right now, I can't elaborate on those changes because of the case but there were some noticeable changes.
KING: What do you want to have happen to her?
LAFAVE: You know, I don't know, Larry. She needs help. As to what degree she gets punished or what degree she gets help, I'll leave that up to the court system. KING: The speculation about you, what has that done to you, people had to say, what are you gay? Did you not have a good sexual life? What has happened to you publicity-wise, public wise, how are people treating you?
LAFAVE: That obviously was humiliating. And when I first was forced to speak out publicly when I filed for divorce. That was one of the things that I wanted to get out of the way. Because obviously that's humiliating to hear people say those things about you and you not having any control over what they are saying. For the record, I'm not gay. I have no trouble performing. Everything was fine. We were newlyweds. I'm 26, she's 24.
KING: Are you dating now?
LAFAVE: I've tried to date. Currently right now I'm not seeing anybody.
KING: What about this -- the "Makes and Models" magazine five years earlier a photo published by a DJ in Tampa of provocative photos of Debbie. What kind of photos?
LAFAVE: Modeling photos.
KING: Like that? There on the motorcycle?
LAFAVE: Exactly. She was extremely embarrassed of those photos after she did the photo shoot. I think she didn't have any idea exactly what those photos were going to be before. She went through with the photo shoot anyway. After we had gotten the photos back, it took her probably a good year before I was able to see those photos. She was extremely embarrassed of those.
KING: Did she take them for money? They look like they are posed modeling photographs for money.
LAFAVE: I believe she did receive some money for it, yes.
KING: Did Debbie leave the townhouse and leave you there?
LAFAVE: Yes, she did.
KING: So you're there alone now?
LAFAVE: I am.
KING: OK. We'll hear another clip from the -- taken by the police through the cooperation of the boy and here they're talking about getting together and Debbie wants to be sure that the boy's mother has already left for a meeting. She asks the boy for a pinky promise. Watch. Or listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
DEBRA: Are you sure? Like, I just feel -- I mean, I don't want you lying to your mom. I mean, it's like...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
DEBRA: Are you sure? Promise?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DEBRA: Pinky promise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DEBRA: Say pinky promise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pinky promise.
DEBRA: All right. Well, tell me a time.
(END AUDIO TAPE)
KING: She sounds as young as him.
LAFAVE: She does.
KING: Is that her voice or is she being babyish?
LAFAVE: Yes, she's being babyish, although I have to disclose that she did use the pinky finger on me before. Although that conversation, it really does, it sounds like she's 10 years old and he's 14. He almost sounds like he's the adult there.
KING: How's his -- what's his side of the coin here, his parents, what are they saying publicly?
LAFAVE: His parents have said nothing. I have no idea about his family. Obviously they were upset and that's the reason why they stepped forward. But I haven't heard any response from their family.
KING: How's the school dealing with it? Is it a public school?
LAFAVE: This is a public school. Obviously they'll let her go.
KING: Are they making statements? Is the press around you?
LAFAVE: Not so much anymore. Initially they were. Initially we were hounded. We couldn't go anywhere without any bit of privacy. They tracked us down, found our number which was unlisted. It was a very difficult time.
KING: Us being you, your folks?
LAFAVE: Everybody. I think everybody that had a connection to either me or Debbie. It's truly amazing the power that the press has. They went down to my groomsmen, friends from high school, friends from college, co-workers, my family, tortured my poor mom. It was very hard.
KING: How are your friends treating you?
LAFAVE: Friends are great.
KING: I think one of the shocking -- always hear about things like this probably added to the shock is how beautiful she is, right?
KING: She is gorgeous.
LAFAVE: Thank you. I think that's absolutely what it is. You turn on the news and unfortunately when I was laid up because of my shoulder, so this is a week and half ago, there was three different incidences of teachers, another case in Florida of a teacher's aide being involved with a sexual relationship with, I think, two students. They went back to show photos of Debbie. So it has everything to do with the way she looks.
KING: Was she ever a beauty queen? Did she ever participate? Was she cheerleading squad?
LAFAVE: She was in -- she ran for, I guess, homecoming court, that kind of thing. So, she did some modeling when she was younger and she was in a few beauty pageants when she was really young.
KING: Go to the same college?
KING: What school?
LAFAVE: University of South Florida.
KING: We'll be right back and we'll include your phone calls for Owen Lafave on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her family tried to shield her from the cameras after she left jail there last week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. That's ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say Lafave recently had sex with a student in her portable classroom here at Greco Middle School near Tampa while the two were alone and once at her house. Lafave is a newlywed but according to police reports, she told the boy she wasn't happy and she liked the thrill of doing something she knew was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Just for the record, we contacted the offices of John Fitzgibbons, the attorney representing Debbie Lafave and acting as her family spokesman in order to invite Debbie or a member of her family to appeal on this program. The response was no comment. We also requested a statement on the criminal case from the attorney's office. The response was again, no comment. We're going to go to calls -- are you involved in some documentary about the phenomenon of teacher-student sex?
LAFAVE: I have been asked to host and narrate a documentary. The executive producer is Steven Beer. The name of the documentary is "After School." There is actually a Web site if people want more information on it. It's AfterSchoolDoc -- one word -- .com, and its focus is to get into the proliferation of student and teacher sexual relationships.
KING: Why are you doing that?
LAFAVE: To provide some insight to me, to give some closure, because I never received an answer from her yet. And I think this is a vehicle in which we can get behind the psyche of a teacher, you know, why she's willing to give up everything, as well as really understand what the consequences are to a student that is involved with this type of relationship.
KING: Are they doing it now?
LAFAVE: It's being assembled right now, it's in the preliminary stages.
KING: Where do you go on the Web again?
LAFAVE: So it's AfterschoolDoc.com.
KING: What do you make, just periphery, of the phenomena of teacher-student sex?
LAFAVE: It's disconcerting. And part of the problem, I think, is statistics haven't been maintained up until recently. In June of 2004, Congress commissioned and released a study on the growing number of student and teacher sexual relationships, trying to curb its occurrence in the school system. And you know, as of this point, I really don't have an answer why it's a growing concern, or if it's something that has been occurring all along and just now we're reporting it.
KING: Is it almost always female teacher, male student?
LAFAVE: Surprisingly, no. Surprisingly, it's pretty close to 50-50. Actually, it's about 56 percent male and about 44 percent female.
KING: Male, that would be rape, right?
LAFAVE: Right. I mean, there is a double standard, unfortunately.
KING: Yeah, the man would be rape; the woman is not charged with rape. Let's go to calls. San Diego, for Owen Lafave. Hello.
KING: Hi. Go ahead.
CALLER: Hi. Larry, first I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your tribute last night to Johnny.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: It was very touching. And Owen, I'm a fellow Wisconsinite. And...
LAFAVE: Oh, very good.
CALLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) remarkably well.
LAFAVE: Thank you.
CALLER: I am wondering, you are not, hopefully not in any way going to be responsible for her legal fees, are you?
LAFAVE: No, I am not.
KING: And I understand another thing that's good out of this, was you strengthened the bond with your father?
LAFAVE: Absolutely. Absolutely. My father and I...
KING: Were you adrift?
LAFAVE: No, we didn't have a strained relationship. But I think just given the time over the years of us living apart, we would talk on an occasional basis. And since everything happened, we've just gotten a lot closer. Initially, he called me every day, and we've just been able to develop a tremendous relationship, and I'm closer to him now than I've ever been in my whole life.
KING: When you were a kid in school, did you ever see a teacher come home with anyone?
LAFAVE: No. No. But there was an accusation when I was in high school that an adult male teacher -- he was a gym teacher -- had a relationship with one of the female students.
KING: Just an accusation, right?
LAFAVE: Well, she had gotten pregnant, actually.
KING: Oh, so there was...
LAFAVE: But it was kind of covered up and he was released.
KING: Ottawa, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Doesn't denying the teenager the right to choose his partner, deny him -- deny him his constitutional right of privacy, which the Supreme Court has recognized and therefore the law is unconstitutional? She should get her job back.
KING: But he's a minor, right? I think that's the difficulty. Constitution protects minors in many ways, but in some ways it holds a leash over them in a sense.
KING: He does not have that. His mother can remove him and move to another state.
LAFAVE: Exactly right.
KING: If he's 19, he could stay in the state.
LAFAVE: Exactly right.
KING: So he doesn't have that privilege?
LAFAVE: No, he doesn't. Because he's minor.
KING: Now, if he turns 21 and she's 31, and she's out of jail, they could get married.
KING: Anchorage, Alaska, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I just love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Thank you for all that you do. Owen, I just want to say I'm sorry for what has happened to you. And it's no way your fault at all.
LAFAVE: Thank you very much.
CALLER: But do you consider your wife a child molester?
KING: Good question.
LAFAVE: By definition, she is.
KING: Because 14 can't be responsible, right?
KING: Even if he were the one that came on first, even if he were the one, you can't hold responsible a 14-year-old?
LAFAVE: You can't. She's the adult in the circumstance.
KING: Do you think this affects your ability to trust other women?
LAFAVE: I think there's a possibility it could. I haven't been involved in a serious relationship, obviously, since this happened. So as of yet, no. But I think there possibly could be some trust issues. I'm continually trying to work through this. So I mean, I have a long way to go. I've come a long way. There is a lot of positive that has come from this. I learned a lot about myself, found depth in my character that I never knew was there. But I think it's a little too soon to say how this will affect my future relationships.
KING: Find any guilt? I mean, do you ever say, should have, would have, could have?
LAFAVE: Not so much. Not so much.
KING: In other words, there's nothing you can say to yourself, I should have done something, I should have spotted something?
LAFAVE: No. Not really. So I think if I had to do everything over again, I'd do it the same way.
KING: She must be -- this would be a guess -- extraordinarily tortured?
LAFAVE: As a guess, yes, I imagine she has to be.
KING: Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hello.
KING: Hi. Go ahead.
CALLER: Hello. I would just like to say that I think Owen's a very smart and intelligent kind of gentleman. And my question to him is, I am a mother of a 14-year-old. And I'd like to know if he had a child that was 14, how he would feel if his teacher had come on to his child and how he could not believe that that was his wife that was talking like a child to the student.
LAFAVE: I think I would be irate. As a teacher, you have a fiduciary and custodial responsibility...
LAFAVE: ... to treat that child as if they were your own. When they're in your supervision as a teacher, they're your child, and I would be irate, and I would go after her with every bit of power that I had within me.
KING: Now, have his parents spoken publicly?
LAFAVE: As far as I know, no, they haven't.
KING: You haven't met them or anything?
KING: He will have to testify.
KING: If it comes to that.
KING: Do you think there's a chance -- this is a layman's thought -- this could be plea-bargained?
LAFAVE: There is a possibility. I imagine that's the intention. However, I don't know, since I haven't been in communication with her defense team or Debbie, but there is a possibility.
KING: Since there's nothing you would change, what boggles you the most?
LAFAVE: Just why. Why? I just -- I don't understand. I'm dumbfounded by it. And I've convinced myself that I will probably from her, will never get an answer. And that's why to me, this documentary is important because I'm hoping it will shed some insight onto...
KING: Because we don't know why, do we?
LAFAVE: We don't know.
KING: As a nation, we don't know why.
LAFAVE: We don't know why. But yet it's happening on a continual basis.
KING: Do we know how much of it is happening, do you know how large, widespread this is?
LAFAVE: Actually, statistics are about 10 percent of the students are involved in some kind of...
KING: Ten percent?
LAFAVE: Ten percent. I mean, that's mind-boggling. Ten percent. And close to 7 percent, I think the exact figure is 6.7 percent, is engaged in sexual behavior with teachers.
KING: That's a lot of people.
LAFAVE: That's a lot of people.
KING: And what also is mind-boggling, is let's say, let's say you had a bad sex relationship, let's say you were gay, let's say you had no sexual relationship. What are you doing with a 14-year-old?
LAFAVE: Right. It just doesn't make sense. I mean, what's the reason behind it? What could be the allure?
KING: In this documentary, are you talking to psychiatrists?
LAFAVE: We're talking to psychologists, psychiatrists, as well as the students and the teachers.
KING: Oh, to both? We'll be right back with Owen Lafave and more phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Owen Lafave. Was Debbie religious?
LAFAVE: She is religious. Her family is religious.
KING: They go to church?
LAFAVE: They do. There is a point in time where Debbie didn't so much, but from what I understand, she has, you know, gone back to...
KING: Are you religious, too?
LAFAVE: I'm a spiritual person. I consider myself religious although I don't go to church probably as much as I should.
KING: It's interesting. You mentioned 6 or 7 percent. Two people on our staff right here in the studio knew of experiences when they went to school.
KING: Two out of two.
LAFAVE: Right. It's eye opening. It's shocking to see that it's that high. It's quite prevalent in our school system.
KING: So we can safely say that in 10 percent of the schools, junior high schools, something's going on?
LAFAVE: Right. That's a safe figure.
KING: What kind of social life did you and she have? Did you go out a lot, you had friends?
LAFAVE: We had friends. I think through the transition of our relationship we started out very social and just kind of ended up evolving into us being with more couple friends.
KING: What have they said, these friends?
LAFAVE: They're as shocked as everybody. I think they're stunned.
KING: Didn't she have close friends?
LAFAVE: Uh-huh. She has very close friends. We've had some close friends together. From what I understand, she's cut off ties with most of our mutual friends.
KING: Have you talked to them? LAFAVE: Sure.
KING: What do they say to you? What can you say?
LAFAVE: Exactly. What can you say? They support me and they're there if I need anything. I've just had a tremendous support system. Without those friends and my other friends and family I would have never been able to get through this.
KING: I know we're going to focus on this documentary, when it's due out?
LAFAVE: There's no timeline yet.
KING: What's the website, again?
KING: It's all one word?
LAFAVE: All one word.
KING: What do you hope to accomplish by coming here? Why are you here?
LAFAVE: Good question. I think there's something therapeutic about getting out and telling everybody my story. I think, you know, I offer people a certain sense of hope. I've been confronted by lot of people that come up to me and are amazed at how I'm handling it and they've told me in the way I'm handling it, that they've drawn strength from my personal experience and if I can give something back to someone else I'm happy to do it.
KING: Of course we all ask ourselves what would we do in your shoes?
LAFAVE: And I don't think it's something you ever know unless you're put in that circumstance.
KING: What would we do in your shoes? And you don't know.
LAFAVE: You don't know.
KING: Canton, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, you asked the question I wanted to ask Owen. Was she on any type of medication because my husband's bipolar. When his mother died, he went into a tailspin. Were there any signs? Because mental illness, it's all about medication.
KING: You said she was on some kind.
LAFAVE: She was, Larry. She was on some mild medication. She was being treated for antidepression.
KING: Did you ever see frantic signs of anything? LAFAVE: I wouldn't say frantic signs. There were some signs. She struggled with things from time to time.
KING: The number one health problem in America is depression. It's not a shock. The number one drugs in use are the...
LAFAVE: Exactly. It's pretty common.
KING: To Pensacola, Florida. Hello. Are you there?
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I wanted to know if he thought there was a double standard between like if it was a male teacher and a 14-year-old student, with it being a female student -- a female teacher and 14- year-old student.
LAFAVE: That's a good question.
KING: The charge would be different. The male would be charged with raping a minor, the female is not. There are other differences, too. Society looks on it maybe...
LAFAVE: Society looks at it differently. I mean, for instance Howard Stern came out and said that she should be commended. I think there's definitely a double standard as far as this goes. I think if she was a male she'd probably already be in jail.
KING: Was he kidding, Howard?
LAFAVE: I don't think he was.
KING: We don't know. Killeen, Texas. Hello.
CALLER: I have a question and comment. First, I am completely disgusted with this. First of all, I am 26 years old. I have three daughters. You would want to send your kids to school hoping that they're not going to -- when they're in high school they're not going to want to even think about having sex. You know what I'm saying. And then for a teacher to do something like that, I am really disgusted.
My question was to you, I really want to know -- they're trying to blame medication for it. I really don't think that's what it was. I'm on Prozac, I've been on Prozac almost all my life. And I still don't understand what a 24 or 26-year-old woman would want with a 14- year-old boy. I know you didn't get to ask her why she did something like that but what did he have? I'm not trying to be -- what was there? I mean, what did he have -- that was a question I know you wanted to know.
KING: What would a 14-year-old have that would attract her?
LAFAVE: I have no idea. And I think that's one of the things that is so disturbing because we did have a good relationship. Things were just fine. Maybe it's the allure of doing something wrong.
KING: She says that, right?
LAFAVE: That's what she says. That's what I have to put my finger on at this point.
KING: A lot of it is false. You did not have a good relationship. You thought you had a good relationship.
LAFAVE: Yes. That's a good way of looking at it.
KING: She didn't.
LAFAVE: Apparently not.
KING: Woodland Hills, California. Hello.
CALLER: I'm wondering if he knows how the young boy is faring post-(UNINTELLIGIBLE). Most 14-year-old boys looking at her would long for her and would not consider themselves victims.
KING: A 14-year-old, I guess, that age, would find her attractive. Would gather with the boys after school and say little things.
LAFAVE: Sure. From what I understand, I think he's doing well. He's moved on to high school. Studies show and actually in an interview, Dr. Drew Pinsky commented that the long-term effects are negative almost in all circumstances. They have trouble trusting authority figures. There is also a high percentage of them that turn to substance abuse. Over time, I think it will be interesting to see, although I'll probably have no contact with the boy, how he turns out. I wish him no ill will and hope everything works out for him.
KING: Did you ever talk to her about her students?
KING: Did she ever bring work home, I have this kid?
LAFAVE: All the time. She was very passionate and very involved in their lives.
KING: She was to every extent a good teacher.
LAFAVE: Absolutely. She was an amazing teacher and well respected by her peers.
KING: We never know.
LAFAVE: You never do know.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Owen Lafave. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Owen Lafave. Any alcohol use on her part at all?
LAFAVE: No. Not at all.
KING: Drug use?
KING: Never saw any. Not to your knowledge?
LAFAVE: Yeah, not to my knowledge.
KING: If she had anything...
KING: ... like that. The two groomsmen, what were their concerns?
LAFAVE: You know, I never really have gotten a specific answer. I didn't ask.
KING: Really? You didn't ask?
LAFAVE: I didn't ask. They just thought that she was just wrong, wrong for me.
KING: They didn't have a reason, like she is this, she's that?
LAFAVE: No. I think a lot of it had to do with what I thought at the time -- and maybe it's a good opportunity to open up a conversation with them -- just the fact that I have kind of moved away from my relationship with them, just spending more time naturally with my wife. But I think they just, you know...
KING: They were bugged?
LAFAVE: A little bit, and I think they just really didn't get along with her.
KING: Lindale, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Hello, how are you all doing, gentlemen?
CALLER: My question is, the defense team was talking about insanity defense, which is very hard to win over a jury with that. And this has already been touched upon, but I was wondering, since the wiretap evidence seems to be pretty solid, would she accept a plea bargain if offered?
KING: Do you think?
LAFAVE: Obviously, it's speculation. I would say yes, but you know, I have no idea what she's thinking. I have no idea what her defense team is thinking. So it's purely speculation on my part.
KING: Well, insanity may be hard to prove. You know, she had to know it was wrong. Right? I think in Florida, it's just knowing right from wrong.
LAFAVE: Right. And I think obviously from the police report, there's a certain indication stating that she knew what she was doing was wrong, because it was exciting.
KING: Obviously, something's the matter, really the matter.
LAFAVE: Yeah, I think it's safe to say.
KING: That baby voice was not familiar to you?
KING: What do you make of that?
LAFAVE: Yeah, I don't know. It's confusing. It really is. That's not the same person that I know, it's not the same person I fell in love with and I married.
KING: Corpus Christi, Texas. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi, Larry.
CALLER: Yes, Owen, yes, my question is, I know you are proceeding with the divorce proceeding at this time. My question is if you would have sat down and had a...
LAFAVE: We lost him.
KING: He thinks -- well, let me proceed with what he might have said, if you were to sit down and had an intimate discussion with her, would you have gone through it if she had asked you not to?
LAFAVE: We did have an intimate discussion. So -- and I still think it's the best decision.
KING: Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, yes. My question is for Owen. I was just wondering, Owen, if you are embarrassed of your wife's actions?
LAFAVE: Absolutely. I'm embarrassed and humiliated. I never thought in a million years that I would be in front of the nation talking about my personal life, and not -- especially something like this happening, I mean, very embarrassed.
KING: How do they treat you at work? LAFAVE: Work has been great. So work has been great. My friends, I consider -- my co-workers I consider dear friends. And they supported me through this, and just handled it with a lot of caution and sympathy.
KING: Have any desire to leave Florida?
LAFAVE: Not at this time. At one point in time, I did think about it. But right now, I mean, that is my home.
KING: This may be weird. Do you miss her?
LAFAVE: You know, I think I miss what we had or what I thought we had, I should say, because I did think she was my soulmate. You know, I thought I had gotten married and thought I would spend the rest of my life with this person. So there is a certain side of me that misses what we had. But I have no desire to go back to what we had or go back to her.
KING: Did she want children?
LAFAVE: She wanted children very badly. So she wanted children yesterday.
KING: Were you trying?
LAFAVE: No. So...
KING: Was that a cause of conflict?
LAFAVE: Yes. That was a cause of conflict. So I mean...
KING: You wanted to wait?
LAFAVE: I wanted to wait. I mean, after all, we were just married. I wanted to find out what it was like to be married, you know, travel, be a little bit more well established, kind of enjoy life...
KING: Did you have arguments over it?
KING: Owen, I thank you very much. I hope your arm gets better.
LAFAVE: Thank you.
KING: And look, if you want more information on that coming documentary, it's AfterSchoolDoc, right -- .com.
KING: And if you go to that Web site, they'll give you a whole bunch of further information.
We'll keep you updated on this story and follow the trial when it starts in December.
Tomorrow night, we'll take a look at a strange kidnapping case. Stay tuned now for more news on your no. 1 trusted station for news anywhere in the world, CNN. Good night.
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