Owen says he started to notice his wife's behavior change and become erratic. "She started to wear skimpy clothing, clothing that was definitely inappropriate for school and teaching in front of children. She began smoking, liked rap music," he explains. "Never in a million years would I have imagined that it was a relationship with one of her students. I just thought my life was destroyed."
The first time Debra and the boy were intimate was in the LaFave's townhome. "Actually, in our bed," Owen recalls. "According to her, he wanted oral sex. He asked for it. She gave it to him." Owen says that Debra had sex with the boy in the classroom on at least one occasion and in a car. "She had the boy's cousin drive them around town where they had sex in the back of their car," he says.
When the police arrested Debra, it
The police arrested Debra. She was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct.
Owen couldn't understand how this happened. "My question was why. She didn't give me an answer. I never encountered anything as painful as that, or as devastating. It was like living in the Twilight Zone. It really did just completely turn my whole world upside down," he says. "The media got ahold of it and ran with it.
"What was the first information you had that she was having sex with a student?" Dr. Phil asks Owen.
"The day she was arrested, her mother called me," he says. "Looking back, hindsight is 20/20; she acted very peculiar right
"When you found out about it and you saw her for the first time, what did she say? How did she explain herself?" Dr. Phil asks.
Owen says she never explained herself. "She gave me multiple reasons and none of them were really legitimate excuses," he says. "She just said she didn't know why she did it." He says that from the first moment he saw her and after reading the police report, he knew she did it. "It was just a gut instinct, and I said, â€˜I know you did it, just tell me why.'" She admitted that she did it, but she couldn't give Owen a reason why.
Dr. Phil explains that the show contacted Debra LaFave's attorney, John Fitzgibbons, for a statement on behalf of his client, and his response was, "No comment." He asks Owen if he has been in contact with Debra.
Owen says he hasn't spoken her in over a year. "I have no desire to," he says.
Owen has re-married and his new wife, Amy, discovered his past just before their first date. "This was a
Amy says that she spoke with her mom about it. "She had seen a bunch of his interviews and said, â€˜He seems like a nice guy. He's a victim in this as much as anyone, give him a chance,'" she says.
Owen and Amy have been married almost a year and have a newborn son. "What concerns me most is that he has my name, and my name, because of my ex-wife is infamous. And I wonder when he gets to school-age will kids ridicule him and make fun of him because of that?" Owen asks.
"By the time he is in a situation, which is three, four, fives years from now, where he's in school, this LaFave will not be an infamous name," Dr. Phil assures the couple. "This isn't going to be of great relevance to him. I think when you do talk to him, I think you just need to say honestly and accurately, â€˜I was married before, and the woman I was married to was not, emotionally, mentally healthy and stable.' And I think that based on results, that's an opinion that you can honestly say, and â€˜As a result she made some really bad decisions, and she got in trouble, so we got a divorce and moved on.'" He tells Owen that he has seen him in interviews and how he has handled himself through this ordeal.
Owen has co-authored the book, Gorgeous Disaster: The Tragic Story of Debra LaFave. "Why did you write that book?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Because I wanted to get the awareness out there that we do have a growing problem in our school system, and we do have a double standard as far as sentencing is concerned with the female perpetrators, and it's something that we need to address," Owen says. "It's something that deeply impacted my life, and through sharing my story I hope to prevent it from happening to someone else."