Two US school teachers come under the limelight over sex offences - one, a former teacher of Florida serving house arrest for having sex with a 14-year-old student arrested Tuesday on charges of violating her probation.
Another, from Nebraska and who ran away with a 13-year-old student, creating nationwide sensation will undergo psychological evaluation. She is currently in jail.
News agency AP reports that according to the records of Florida's Department of Corrections, former school teacher Debra Lafave discussed her personal life and other subjects with a teenage waitress at a restaurant where both worked. One of the terms of her probation was that she was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with minors without permission.
Lafave, 26, is serving three years of house arrest and seven years of probation after pleading guilty to having sex with the boy in a classroom and her home in June 2004.
Probation records show Lafave worked at a Tampa-area restaurant until last month, when her probation officer ordered her to quit. She now works as a receptionist at her mother's barbershop.
Her lawyer said he and his client were surprised by the arrest. "I don't think anyone felt this was a huge issue," he said.
He said Lafave has done so well on her first two years of house arrest that he planned to ask a judge to convert the final year to straight probation, which is less restrictive.
Other terms of her probation include sex offender treatment, random drug testing and 200 hours of community service, all of which she has completed.
Lafave pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in November 2005. She could face up to 15 years in prison for a probation violation.
Meantime the Lexington school teacher, Kelsey Peterson, 25, made her first appearance in a Nebraska courtroom Thursday before Magistrate F.A. Gossett in Omaha.
Her attorney, James Martin Davis of Omaha, requested a psychological evaluation of Peterson and the motion was not opposed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Sharp.
Gossett then set a bail hearing for Dec. 10 before U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith-Camp.
Sharp said his office would oppose releasing Peterson from custody before a trial because she was a flight risk.
Davis said the evaluation will be conducted by Dr. Stephen Skulsky, an Omaha psychologist.
"We wanted the evaluation to show that Kelsey is not a pedophile in danger of reoffending,'' Davis said.
Peterson sat quietly in orange prison garb during the 20-minute hearing Thursday at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse. Her light-brown hair was fixed in a bun, and she smiled easily as she talked with her defense counsel.
She appeared to hold back tears as the judge read Peterson's federal grand jury indictment charging her with transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity, an offense punishable by 10 years to life in prison.
She is accused of running away with Fernando Rodriguez, 13.
In a telephone interview Thursday, the boy said he remains in Janitzio, Mexico, across the Califo-rnia border. He has been staying with family friends since he and Peterson were apprehended Nov. 2 in Mexicali,Mexico.
The pair fled from Lexington on Oct. 26, a day after the teacher was put on leave from her job for inappropriate contact with a student.
When the judge asked Peterson if she understood the charge against her and the possible penalties, she answered, "Yes, I do,'' in a clear voice. A moment later, she entered a plea of "not guilty'' to the federal charge.
The former sixth-grade math teacher and assistant high school girls basketball coach also faces three criminal charges in state court, including two felonies, kidnapping and child abuse.
No family or friends of Peterson's attended the hearing.
Speaking to reporters, Davis said he advised Peterson's parents, who live in Gothenburg, and have custody of Peterson's 8-year-old daughter, to wait until the bail hearing to come to Omaha.
"I anticipated the detention hearing would be continued and thought it would be easier on them,'' he said.
Davis continued to assert his contention that Fernando was older than 13 and not a true victim. He said Fernando told Peterson he was the father of 2-year-old boy named Carlos who lived in Grand Island.Davis said he was forwarding the information to the FBI.
Fernando on Thursday said he was not the father of a 2-year-old child. He said Davis was wrong when he said he had uncovered new information that casts doubt on the boy's age.
"I'm 13,'' Fernando said Thursday in the telephone interview from Mexico, where he is using a cell phone given to him by Peterson.
In a phone interview with The World-Herald shortly after the two were apprehended, Fernando denied having engaged in sex with the teacher. Later, the Associated Press quoted a Mexican police officer who said the boy admitted to having sex "may be twice.''
Dawson County Attorney Elizabeth Waterman declined to comment on the latest questions about Fernando's age and whether he had fathered a child.