Monday, June 28, 2010

Teacher Stephanie Ragusa Gets 10 Years in Prison - Updated

(Tampa, Florida) Former middle school teacher Stephanie Ragusa was sentenced today for sexually preying upon teen boys.
Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe sentenced her to the maximum according to a plea deal, 10 years in prison followed by five years of sex offender probation in one case and fifteen years of sex offender probation in the second.

"You were a teacher," Tharpe said. "And as parents, we place our trust in teachers to provide a safe environment in which our children can learn. You violated that trust in the worst imaginable way. You preyed on these young boys …

"I've seen you come into this courtroom time and time again as this case has progressed. You had a very lackadaisical attitude on your face, smiling, jovial. If I had to sum up your attitude in one word, it would be arrogance. I don't know as we stand here today that you truly appreciate the harm that you caused. I honestly believe, Ms. Ragusa, that you are a sexual predator. And I honestly believe that you are a danger to children in our community."
The plea deal allowed Ragusa to avoid a possible 22 to 45 years in prison if found guilty by a jury at trial.

* * * * *

Teacher Stephanie Ragusa Guilty of Sex with Boys - Updated
[Previous 4/12/10 post]
(Tampa, Florida) A teary-eyed Stephanie Marie Ragusa, a former middle school teacher now shackled and dressed in jailhouse orange, pleaded guilty today to engaging in sex with two boys.
She pleaded guilty to three counts of lewd and lascivious battery in a March 2008 case involving a 14-year-old boy.

She also pleaded guilty to two counts of having unlawful sex with a minor in an April 2008 case involving a 16-year-old student.

Prosecutor Rita Peters said Ragusa had intercourse with the 14-year-old on three occasions between October 2006 and May 2007. [...]

Peters said the encounters with the other teen began when he was 15. They ended when she was arrested in April 2008 as she was leaving his home.
Sentencing has been scheduled for June 15 when Ragusa, 31, reportedly faces a possible 10 years in prison. (h/t Howie)

* * * * *

Florida Teacher and Middle School Boy
[Previous 3/14/08 post]
(Tampa, Florida) A 28-year-old Hillsborough County middle school teacher, Stephanie Marie Ragusa, was arrested yesterday for allegedly engaging in sex with a 14-year-old middle school student.
An investigation showed that Ragusa had sex with a student five times while working as a teacher at Davidsen Middle School. Deputies say the incidents began when the student was 14-years-old and continued until after his 15th birthday.

Officials say the victim was never a student of Ragusa and had met her while on the school campus.
Ragusa was charged with five counts of lewd and lascivious battery and booked into custody at the Orient Road Jail without bail. A bond hearing is scheduled for today.

[Update 5 PM] Stephanie Ragusa was denied bond.

Also, Ragusa reportedly had five sexual encounters with the boy -- one in her own apartment.

[Update 04/16/08]

Stephanie Ragusa was arrested again yesterday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a second male student, 15. Ragusa faces new counts of sex with a minor and lewd and lascivious battery

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter, the second victim was identified from text messages on Ragusa's cell phone.
Ragusa and the teen's relationship started Feb. 15, 2007, when they had sex at Ragusa's former home on Fox Terrier Court in Tampa, investigators said.

From then until March 10 this year — three days before Ragusa's first arrest — she and the teen had sex more than 20 times, Carter said.

Ragusa also is accused of buying the teen alcohol during their relationship, investigators said.

The teen identified Ragusa by describing her tattoos, which could only be seen if she was undressed, Carter said.
Ragusa was released from custody on $22,500 bail. She has been suspended from her teaching position.

[Update 04/28/08]

For the third time in six weeks, Stephanie Ragusa has been arrested for engaging in sex with a male student.
Detectives say Ragusa was arrested again today on two new charges, after she was caught having sex with one of the same former students early this afternoon. They believe she also had sex with the student back on April 5th.

“I can assure you that we are doing everything we can do right now to make sure that she not out at liberty to do this again,” said Lt. Fred Asteasuainzarra, a detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Ragusa was all smiles as deputies brought her out of the Criminal Investigations Bureau for transport to the Orient Road Jail. Investigators say she refused to answer questions about the case.
It would probably be prudent to keep her in jail until trial.

[Update 05/08/08]

Judge released a transcript of a March 12 telephone conversation between Ragusa and a 14-year-old boy when she told him to keep quiet and compared herself to Debra Lafave.

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