Plea Negotiations Break Down in Holyoke Sex Scandal

Plea negotiations have broken down for former Holyoke teacher Lisa M. Lavoie, who is accused of running off with a 15-year-old student, scuttling a change of plea hearing scheduled for this week, according to the Springfield Republican.

Lavoie, 25, of Ludlow, was scheduled to plead guilty in Hampden Superior Court before Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty to some charges related to her multi-state flight with an eight-grader at the Maurice A. Donahue Elementary School in 2009.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick S. Sabbs told the judge that sentencing discussions between Lavoie’s lawyer and his office broke off during the weekend, leaving the outcome of the case uncertain.

“I think we will be able to work something out by the end of the year,” Sabbs said, referring to the end of William M. Bennett’s tenure as district attorney.

Lavoie’s lawyer, David P. Hoose, of Northampton, who was awaiting a jury verdict in a federal court case, could not be reached for comment. At Saab’s request, Moriarty set a January 20 trial date in case no plea deal could be arranged.

The former teacher at the Maurice A. Donahue Elementary School has been free on $25,000 cash bail since pleading innocent in March 2009 to six counts of statutory rape and one of enticement of a child under the age of 16 in a case involving a then-eighth-grader.

Investigators said a relationship developed between Lavoie and her student in fall 2008, and the two began texting and e-mailing before having sex.

In February 2009, the pair fled Western Massachusetts after learning their relationship had been discovered. They were found a week later in a motel room in Morgantown, W.Va.

Prosecutors have said that Lavoie and the teen drove through Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania as authorities pursued them.

The six statutory rape counts include three of aggravated statutory rape, a charge established under a bill known as “Jessica’s Law” that was signed into law a year ago, prosecutors have said. Those charges carry a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

The aggravated rape charges were issued because, as a teacher, Lavoie was a so-called mandatory reporter responsible for reporting any suspected physical or sexual abuse of her students. The teen was placed in foster care after his return to Massachusetts, officials said in previous court proceedings.

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