Mary Kay Letourneau, the former Washington state teacher who raped a 12-year-old student and later married him, has died. She died of stage 4 cancer, her attorney David Gehrke told KING 5. She was 58.
This ends Letourneau’s fraught three decade story with victim Vili Fualaau. The then-child had gotten the teacher pregnant with a girl in 1996.
Letourneau, then 34 and a mother of four children with a man, was caught with the 12-year-old. She was arrested in 1997. Letourneau pleaded guilty to second-degree rape of child, and got a six-month sentence in jail with three months suspended, but that wouldn’t be the last time she spent behind bars. She violated her probation by going back to the still very young Fualaau. The defendant received a seven-year sentence in prison, and got pregnant with their second daughter.
“I did something that I had no right to do, morally or legally,” she said at the time of the case. “It was wrong and I am sorry.”
But when Letourneau was released from prison in 2004, and Fualaau, now an adult, successfully filed to reverse the protection order against the defendant. Former parent and teacher–convicted sex offender and her victim–got married.
“So we kind of just look back at it, and laugh at it,” Fualaau said in the 2000s. “Something a lot of people should get over it now.”
The relationship wasn’t to last: They filed for a formal separation in 2017.
Letourneau continued to speak about the case through the years, even talking to A&E in 2018.
[Screengrab via A&E / ABC News]
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