Jury selection begins in Tampa teacher sex case
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY (Bay News 9) — Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the trial of a former Tampa teacher accused of having sex with students.
Attorneys will begin questioning potential jurors today in the trial of Stephanie Ragusa, the former middle school teacher facing multiple counts of lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
Ragusa’s attorney has been concerned about her receiving a fair trial due to the case’s publicity, even suggesting the trial should be moved.
Bay News 9 legal analyst Joe Episcopo said he believes attorneys will be able to seat an impartial jury.
“I think they will have no problem finding six jurors and I don’t think it’s going to have a change in venue,’ he said. “This case is not as well known as other teacher sex cases.”
Ragusa, 30, has been in jail since April 2008 awaiting a court date.
She was first arrested in March 2008 after a 15-year-old boy said they had a relationship when he was 14 years old.
She was arrested for the second time April 15, 2008, after a second student said he had sex with her.
Ragusa was arrested a third time on April 28, 2008, after deputies conducting a follow-up call with one of her accusers discovered Ragusa and the boy together again.