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Middle School Teacher Sentenced for Sex with Students

TAMPA - A middle school teacher who pleaded guilty to sex with two of her male students was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison - the maximum allowed in her plea agreement - followed by five years sex-offender probation for one charge and 15 years sex-offender probation for another.

To avoid a trial, Stephanie Ragusa, 31, had pleaded guilty in April to three counts of lewd and lascivious battery and two counts of unlawful sex with a minor. She was accused of separate, repeated sexual encounters with a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old while teaching at Davidsen Middle School here.

Daisy Heredia, the mother of the 14-year-old with emotional disabilities, said she felt Ragusa targeted her victims, that she had access to their charts and records.

"I feel she was very conniving in picking these boys out," said Heredia, who also told the judge that her son is dealing with a lot of guilt.

The judge could have punished Ragusa with anything from probation to 10 years in prison as part of her plea agreement. Ragusa already has spent two years in jail.

She would have faced 22 to 45 years in prison had a jury found her guilty of all the charges, according to newspaper reports.

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