In , following her first year of teaching, she married Owen Lafave. His aunt was alarmed at seeing him in the company of a provocatively-dressed woman, and alerted his mother. Under intense questioning from the boy's mother, he admitted that the woman was Lafave. Officers in Temple Terrace recorded conversations between Lafave and the boy, then arrested her at their next meeting.
Two separate sets of charges were filed, because the alleged incidents occurred in both Riverview, in Hillsborough County , and Ocala, in Marion County. Lafave faced a sentence of 5-to years for each of the two counts for which she was accused.
The pretrial publicity was already taking a noticeable toll on him; he had a difficult time talking to an assistant prosecutor from Marion County. The victim's cousin also indicated that he was not willing to testify under the circumstances. Eventually, the boys' family decided that sending Lafave to prison would not be worth the emotional trauma of the proceedings, as well as the prospect of having to do it all over again two years later since there were going to be separate trials in Tampa and Ocala.
They asked the prosecutors to offer Lafave a deal that would avoid a trial. The defense was willing to agree to a plea deal, provided that Lafave would not have to serve jail time. Lafave pleaded guilty under the agreement and was sentenced to three years of community control house arrest and seven years of sex offender probation. Prosecutors defended the deal, saying that sex offender probation in Florida is quite difficult to complete; LaFave could have gone to jail if she violated any of the probation terms.
She forfeited her teaching license as a result of her plea, and no state will grant a teaching credential to a convicted felon. Under the terms of her probation, she had to be home by 10 p. She also had to register as a sex offender. The Marion County state's attorney subsequently dropped the charges.
Stancil had proposed closing the courtroom when the victim testified. However, prosecutors concluded that his privacy would still be endangered if the case went to trial, since it would be nearly impossible to keep witnesses from mentioning his name in open court. They ultimately decided that putting Lafave on trial would not be worth the harm to the victim's well-being.
John Gillespie, the lead detective who requested the nude photos of Lafave, was arrested before the trial in an unrelated prostitution sting. Her petition was granted and her house arrest ended four months early. Her petition was granted and her probation ended that day. The victim's family stated that they would appeal the decision.