Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Teacher Arrested Not Once, But Twice!

This Florida middle school teacher has been arrested not once but twice for inappropriate behavior with two different students:
TAMPA - When teacher Stephanie Ragusa was having sex with a Davidsen Middle School student last year, she became intimate with a second student, investigators said Tuesday.

Ragusa, 28, was arrested again Tuesday, accused of having a sexual relationship with another Davidsen student when the boy was 15, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

She was first arrested March 13, charged with five counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Investigators accused her of having sex at least three times with a then 14-year-old boy from January 2007 to May 2007.

On Tuesday, Ragusa was further charged with two counts of sex with a minor and one count of lewd and lascivious battery stemming from her relationship with the 15-year-old, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Ragusa last contacted the boy March 10, when she sent him text messages and they agreed to meet at her home, 15324 Lake Bella Vista Drive, Carter said. She said investigators seized Ragusa's cell phone on a search warrant after her first arrest and found the messages.

That's how the sheriff's office identified the second teen, Carter said. She added that "there could potentially be other victims."

Ragusa was released Tuesday night from Orient Road Jail on $22,500 bail.

She remains suspended without pay pending a vote by the Hillsborough County School Board, district spokesman Steve Hegarty said.

He added that he was at a meeting Tuesday with district officials to discuss the recent arrests of teachers accused of having sex with students. Then officials heard the news of Ragusa's arrest about 6 p.m.

"It's shocking - again," Hegarty said. "But she's out of the classroom and she's not being paid."

The victim was a student in Ragusa's math class at Davidsen Middle School in Town 'N Country, Carter said. She was also his tutor.

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.

The two teens are not being identified because they are considered victims of sex crimes.

Before her second arrest, Ragusa had been free on $12,500 bail since March 18.

She started working for the school district in 2006 at Madison Middle School in South Tampa, then voluntarily transferred midyear to Davidsen. Most recently, Ragusa was a math teacher at Martinez Middle School in Lutz.
What can be done to get these teachers predators to leave their students alone?

If the charges are proven, my guess is that Ragusa will most likely do a few months in the county pokey (along with some community service) rather than hard time in the state penitentiary.

It is also possible that Ragusa will escape incarceration altogether and get some sort of probation, as has been the case with several other female teachers who had been convicted of molesting their students.

Heh. But if Ragusa had been a man and the victims had been female I'd be willing to bet that the punishment would be altogether different.