Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teacher accused of having sex with teenage boy

TAMPA — A 28-year-old math teacher was arrested Thursday, accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Stephanie Marie Ragusa didn't have the student in any of her classes, a Hillsborough Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said. But she met the boy on campus while she was working as a special education teacher at Davidsen Middle School last year.

Somewhere along the way, deputies say, the two began having sex.

A school resource officer was alerted to the situation after a student came forward, Hillsborough schools spokesman Stephen Hegarty said.

According to the sheriff's investigation, Ragusa had three sexual encounters with the teen between Oct. 1, 2006, and May 4, 2007 — twice in her car and once in her apartment, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Over that period, the boy turned 15.

When interviewed by a deputy, the victim confirmed his relationship with the teacher, Carter said.

One of the times they had sex, he told them, was when he should have been in an after-school class. The other two times took place at night, Carter said.

Ragusa, who transferred to Martinez Middle School in Lutz this school year, now teaches seventh-grade math. The school's Web site lists her as a teacher on the Arabian Broncos teaching team.

An arrest affidavit from investigators says the victim's story was verified by his knowledge of tattoos of a flower and a bug on Ragusa that are visible only if she is unclothed.

Also, she admitted their relationship and her awareness of the potential risk involved in a monitored telephone call with the victim, the affidavit states.

Ragusa has been on paid leave since February for reasons that have nothing to do with this matter, Hegarty said. The school system spokesman said he was not at liberty to discuss why.

Hired by Hillsborough County schools in July 2006, Ragusa worked at Madison Middle for a short time before transferring to Davidsen in the middle of the 2006-07 school year, Hegarty said.

Several of Ragusa's fellow teachers past and present declined to talk about her work Thursday night, in the hours after her 4:15 p.m. arrest.

Details about the teacher were scant as news of the accusation broke Thursday night.

Public records show Ragusa purchased a home last year at 15324 Lake Bella Vista Drive with Tony William Irvin.

Neither Irvin nor Ragusa's family could be reached Thursday night for comment. Court documents list both Ragusa and Irvin as single at the time of the purchase.

Ragusa, who is 5-foot-3 and 100 pounds, was booked into Orient Road Jail just after 9 p.m., charged with five counts of engaging in lewd or lascivious battery — one count for each sexual act, Carter said.

She was being held without bail. Hegarty said Ragusa has been suspended with pay, pending review of her case.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show she was arrested in 2005 on a DUI charge, though Hillsborough County's online court records indicated the charge was dismissed at trial.

State records also show a 2004 arrest in Pasco County on aggravated battery, but again, that charge appears to have been dropped, according to FDLE.

Ragusa is the third female teacher from Hillsborough County schools in recent years to be accused of having sex with a teenager they knew from school.

Former Wharton High School teacher and coach Jaymee Wallace was sentenced last year to three years in prison and three years of probation after pleading guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

And former Greco Middle School teacher Debra Lafave got three years of house arrest and seven years of probation after pleading guilty in 2005 to having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Hegarty said Thursday night that since news about Ragusa's arrest was just unfolding, it wasn't clear yet what action school administrators would be taking to inform parents about the latest incident.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3383.

Teacher accused of having sex with teenage boy 03/13/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 1:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.