Stephanie Ragusa: Teacher Sentenced to Ten Years- ‘Inappropriate Student Relationships’

June 29th, 2010 - 11:59 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

June 29 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A former middle school teacher from Tampa Florida who was found guilty of having inappropriate relationships with two of her underage students was found guilty, and sentenced to ten years in prison, to be followed by another 15 years on probation, according to reports from ‘CBS’.

A thirty one year old math teacher, Stephanie Ragusa was charged for having separate sexual encounters with a 14 year old student and a 16 year old student, both boys, on repeated occasions. During sentencing, she apologized to the two young victims and to their families as well. “I never intended to harm anyone,” Ragusa told the Hillsborough courtroom on Monday.

According to the prosecutors, Ragusa had sexual intercourse with a fourteen year old boy on three different occasions which were between October of 2006 and May of 2007. She also has a sexual relationship with a sixteen year old boy which began when he was fifteen and only ended after the teacher was arrested in April of 2008, as she was leaving the teenager’s home.

Although her lawyer presented a psychiatrist to testify that Ragusa had a mental illness which could have contributed to her risky behavior, the judge was not swayed. The doctor stated that Ragusa had been diagnosed as bipolar, but was improving with treatment. Ragusa’s father also took the stand and begged the court judge for mercy on his daughter’s behalf.

But the judge, Chet Tharpe remained on the side of the victims and their families. “You have disgraced yourself, family and the teaching profession,” Tharpe stated, before sentencing her to 10 years in prison, and 15 years of strict probation, which was the maximum sentence that was allowed by the plea bargain deal which Ragusa was in.

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