WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who was convicted of raping her former sixth-grade student Vili Fualaau and later married him, has died of cancer at 58 years old.
- She was convicted of child rape in 1998 and was married to Fualaau in 2005 after serving her prison term.
- The district’s lawyer claimed that the romance between the two began after the academic year had ended and outside school grounds.
Mary Kay Letourneau drew international headlines after she was convicted of raping her former sixth-grade student and later married him.
Her lawyer, David Gehrke, informed news outlets that Letourneau died of cancer on Tuesday at 58 years old.
Letourneau’s involvement with her student Vili Fualaau was first made known in 1996. She was a married mother of four but she had difficulties with her marriage. Meanwhile, Fualaau was a sixth-grade student in her class at Shorewood Elementary in Burien, south Seattle.
The police discovered the two in a parked minivan at the Des Moines Marina at about 1:20 a.m. on June 19, 1996. At the time, Letourneau was 34 and Fualaau was 12.
Officers became suspicious of sexual activity between the two when Letourneau told them that the boy was 18.
Fualaau and Letourneau told officers at the police station that there had been no “touching.” The pair claimed that Letourneau was babysitting him and took him from her home after she had an altercation with her husband.
Two months later, Letourneau became pregnant with her first daughter with him. In 1998, she became pregnant with their second child after pleading guilty to child rape. She received a 7 1/2-year prison term.
After Letourneau finished her time in prison, the couple married on May 20, 2005, in Woodinville, Washington.
The couple described their relationship as one of love. They also wrote a book together, entitled “Un Seul Crime, L’Amour,” or “Only One Crime, Love.”
Fualaau then filed for legal separation from Letourneau on May 9, 2017, according to King County court records.
Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who represented the Des Moines police department in a 2002 lawsuit brought by Fualaau’s mother, shared, “She accepted that it was a crime and that she had to serve her time, but when she got out she didn’t dwell. She moved forward in a very positive way and raised those girls. She was somebody I rooted for. I really wanted her to do well, and she did.”
In the multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Fualaau’s mother, she claimed that the city and school district failed to protect her son from his teacher. The jury ultimately decided against the family.
The school district and police department remarked that the pairing was so bizarre that it could not have been foreseen. The police added that they did not find any evidence of sexual abuse until it was too late.
According to the district’s lawyer, the romance between the two began after the academic year had ended and outside school grounds.
Speaking of Letourneau and Fualauu’s relationship, Bremner noted, “Everyone said it wouldn’t last, but it did, at least for 20 years.”