In and exclusive interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, former teacher Debra LaFave talked about her affair with a 14-year-old student. Now, MSNBC’s Rita Cosby talks to the victim’s mother for the first time since LaFave gave her interview.
RITA COSBY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Many were angry at Debra LaFave’s comments to NBC News about her relationship with the boy, her unremorseful comments, especially the mother of the victim. And she is going to join me right now live for her first interview, responding to Debra LaFave.
Thank you, first of all, for joining us. How are you doing, how is your son doing?
MOTHER OF DEBRA LAFAVE’S VICTIM: My son is doing wonderful, thank you—probably better than me at this point.
COSBY: Yeah, how are you doing? As the mother—especially when you hear Debra LaFave—you know, a lot of us, when we heard Debra LaFave, she never said, I’m sorry. How did you feel?
MOTHER: She has never been remorseful. And that’s been very clear from day one. And as disturbing as that was, to see some of the information—false information that she spoke of during this interview last night that were out just outright lies, was extremely disturbing.
COSBY: What did you feel was false from Debra LaFave’s words?
MOTHER: Well, saying that my son was the aggressor. She was the absolutely the aggressor from the very initial moment, giving him and his friends passes to her class every single day for the last week of school, since that was following the Sea World trip she spoke of.
Taking them and attending their after-school party, you know, which was a family event. Well, when I say ‘family event,’ it was provided by one of the student’s parents.
Probably the most disturbing comment is saying that my son actually placed her against the wall, put his hand up against her shirt. That is absolutely completely false, and if this had gone to trial, that would have been proven by witnesses. She was not in the room alone at the time. There were two other friends of my son that were in the room when this supposedly happened that were independently interviewed by the prosecutor’s office. None of them—they all had the exact same story. And in—there was no one that knew that she had made that accusation and just explained what happened on that particular afternoon, so that was disturbing.
COSBY: What do you think of Debra LaFave—you know, when you hear these comments, what kind of a person do you think Debra LaFave is, still to this day?
MOTHER: She is calculated, she is manipulative, she is unremorseful and she is a sex offender.
COSBY: Yeah, she says she isn’t. What is your response to that?
MOTHER: She is a sex offender. And sex offenders come in all shapes and sizes. As we saw on DATELINE prior to this interview, they come in all shapes and sizes and there is no other label for her than a sex offender, which is why she is on the Hillsborough County website as a sex offender.
COSBY: Let me show a quick comment. This is what she had to say, basically again accepting no responsibility, which I’m sure, as a mother, just infuriates you. This is Debra LaFave speaking to NBC News.
DEBRA LAFAVE, CONVICTED OF HAVING SEX WITH A STUDENT: I think he’s going to have a hard time trusting women one day. I’m sure he has to be living with the guilt of quote, unquote, ratting me out.
COSBY: When you hear that, what did you think?
MOTHER: I am so glad you aired that clip.
First of all, he is not living with any guilt of ratting anyone out because he did not rat anyone out. She was parading around, which I am extremely thankful for, with other boys, my son, my nephew and the boy next door, taking them to the mall, was very open with this. And that is why we were able to find out about this sexual battery within a three week period.
COSBY: What do you want to say to Debra LaFave because she is, you know, making it sound like your son, who was 14 -- she is the teacher, she is the adult—making it sound like he is the aggressor. What do you want to say to Debra LaFave?
MOTHER: She was absolutely the aggressor, not my son. And when children are 14 years old, and hormones are raging, and you have a 23-year-old teacher who admittedly states she was dressing extremely provocative at school and starts flirting with my son, and basically saying she is starting to have deep feelings for him, kisses him, and then, you know, made sure he had her cell phone number. She also, by the way, interviewed at the high school that he was getting ready to attend, since he was leaving eighth grade, because she wanted to follow him there.
So she was absolutely the aggressor, which is proven from many cell phone calls—countless cell phone calls -- that are a matter of—that would have been a matter of trial that was never aired.
COSBY: How angry are you as a mother to hear that she is pointing the finger at him?
MOTHER: I am extremely—you know, the reason we didn’t go to trial was not that I did not feel this woman needed to be in jail. I agree with the one statement she made—she does need to be in jail. I wish she was in jail. But there comes a point you have to weigh the balance. At the expense of my son—and you see the publicity this has gotten so far, and for him to be on the stand and put through what typically a rape victim would be put through on the stand, to try to—
COSBY: Do you regret now—you know, when you see that—and many people understand because, of course you didn’t want your son exposed.
So many people understand that. Do you regret now when you see her so unremorseful, pointing the finger at your son, do you regret, you know, that you helped in the plea deal? Do you wish things were different?
MOTHER: I have no regrets about the plea deal, because my son is doing wonderful. He has moved on with his life. We are trying so much for him to move on with his life. This will follow her forever. My goal is, it will not follow my son forever, which, for the record, is the reason I go in shadow. The local community know—they know who I am, they know who my son is. I am not ashamed. My son has nothing to be ashamed of. He did nothing wrong. He was the victim. So my goal is he is going to graduate from high school, go on to college, and live a normal life, and he will. And he is doing extremely well.
COSBY: Now that’s great. You know, you know when you heard her comments yesterday, she also talked about being raped, which some of the prosecutors that I have spoken with said that that was news to them, they hadn’t heard that before. She said that she was raped by one of her boyfriends when she was 13. And she used that as an excuse. She said she mental disease—bipolar. All excuses, in your mind?
MOTHER: Every excuse in the world. She has always—she is always the victim. And by the way, she—where she claims she was raped at 13, she really caught her own—by her own comments, saying that, you know, basically the teacher—I don’t recall the exact words, but—you know, basically, you know, let them get away with it. And Matt Lauer countered her on it, How did you need to get away with it, if you were raped. And she was like, well, I just was—you don’t understand the fear. It’s another example of how she continuously makes statements that try to benefit her, to make her look like the victim. She’s a sexual offender.
COSBY: Do you think she also should have been more sensitive—if indeed she was raped, even though it was never reported—do you think that should have given her a reason to be more sensitive to what she was doing to your son?
MOTHER: One would think.
COSBY: Yeah, one would.
MOTHER: But that is not the type of person we are dealing with.