Mary Kay Letourneau was a schoolteacher in the United States who admitted to two counts of second-degree felony rape of a minor in 1997. Vili Fualaau, then 12, was her sixth-grade pupil at an elementary school in Burien, Washington when they first had s*xual relations. She had Fualaau’s child while waiting for her sentence to be handed down.
The state was seeking a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence, but she negotiated a sentence of six months in jail, with three months suspended in exchange for a plea deal that included no contact with Fualaau for the rest of her life. National news outlets covered the case.
Shortly after Letourneau had spent three months in jail, the authorities captured her in a car with Fualaau. The judge overturned her plea deal and ordered her to serve the full statutory maximum of seven and a half years in jail. She had Fualaau’s second daughter eight months after returning to prison. From 1998 to 2004, she remained behind bars.
Letourneau and Fualaau tied the knot in May of 2005, and their 14-year marriage ended in divorce in 2019.
Mary Kay Letourneau Early Life
Mary Kay Schmitz was born in 1962 in Tustin, California, the daughter of Mary E. (née Suehr), a former scientist, and John G. Schmitz (1930–2001), a community college instructor and politician. Within her immediate circle of relatives, she went by the name Mary Kay. She grew up in a “strict Catholic household” as the fourth of seven children. Letourneau’s father entered politics when she was just two years old, and he won a position in the state assembly as a Republican.
He was elected to serve as a state senator for California and a member of Congress for the United States in 1970, first in a special election to fill out the remainder of the previous senator’s term and then in the regular election. After losing the 1972 primary, he switched to the American Party and ran for president in that year’s general election.
Letourneau’s younger brother drowned in the family pool in 1973 as she and another brother were playing in the shallow end. They lived in the Spyglass Hill neighborhood of Corona del Mar, California.
Mary Kay Letourneau’s Marriage
Mary Schmitz met and married fellow ASU student Steve Letourneau, with whom she had the first of four children, while they were both enrolled in the university. She claimed she did not love Steve at the time of their marriage and only tied the knot because her parents insisted she does so. They uprooted their lives and set up a house in Anchorage, Alaska, where Steve got a job as a baggage handler for Alaska Airlines.
Mary had her second kid after the couple had lived in Alaska for a year due to her husband’s transfer there. A teacher since 1989, she earned her degree from Seattle University. She first entered the teaching profession in the Burien, Washington, suburb of Shorewood Elementary School, where she currently teaches second grade.
Their marriage reportedly crumbled as the Letourneau’s struggled financially and both partners had adulterous affairs. Her attorney and former next-door neighbor, David Gehrke, claimed that she suffered “emotional and physical abuse by her husband” during their marriage, stating that she “went to the hospital for treatment on two separate occasions and police were called” on both occasions, but that no charges were ever filed.
They divorced in May 1999 while she was behind bars, and he ended up with custody of their four kids. When their eldest son had a girl in 2010, the Letourneau’s became grandparents for the first time.
Crime and Arrest
At Shorewood Elementary, Vili Fualaau (born June 26, 1983) was a student of Letourneau’s in both the second grade and the sixth grade. In the summer of 1996, when Letourneau was 34 years old, her friendship with Fualaau, then 12 years old, developed into something more intimate.
The police found her and Fualaau’s automobile in a marina parking lot on June 18th, 1996. At one point, she jumped into the driver’s seat as Fualaau pretended to nap in the rear. When asked for identification, she and Fualaau gave bogus names, and Fualaau lied about his age, saying he was 18. Physical contact was not made, according to Fualaau.
Letourneau claimed that she and her husband had argued and that Fualaau, a family friend who was staying with them that night, had seen the argument and left in a huff. A search for him was the reason she supposedly fled. Letourneau and Fualaau were escorted to the police station, where Fualaau’s mother was called.
A question was put to the mother to see what she thought should be done. She asked that Fualaau be given back to Letourneau. She later claimed that she would not have let Fualaau return to Letourneau if the police had informed her that he had lied about Fualaau’s age and what had happened in the automobile. On March 4, 1997, Letourneau was taken into custody after a relative of her spouse called authorities.
Getting Out Of Jail and Marriage With Fualaau
Letourneau was released from prison to a community placement program on August 4, 2004, and registered the next day with the King County Sheriff’s Office as a level 2 s*x offender.
Fualaau, then 21 years old, successfully petitioned the court to vacate the no-contact order against her after Letourneau’s release. Letourneau and Fualaau married on May 20, 2005, in the city of Woodinville, Washington, in a ceremony at the Columbia Winery.
The wedding was photographed and reported on by several media outlets, including the television show Entertainment Tonight. Letourneau revealed that she wanted to return to teaching after having another child and that the law allowed her to do so at private schools and community colleges.
Where Did Mary Kay Letourneau Die and How?
Letourneau passed away on July 6, 2020, at her home in Des Moines, Washington, from colon cancer. She was 58 years old. Fualaau and her family were at her side despite their separation. Letourneau left Fualaau a sizable portion of her estate in her will.
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