Mary Kay Letourneau, who married her former sixth grader after she was found guilty of raping him, died.
SEATTLE – Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who married her former sixth-grade student after she was convicted of raping him in a case that made international news, died. She was 58 years old.
His attorney David Gehrke told multiple media that Letourneau died of cancer Tuesday. He did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.
Letourneau was a married mother of four in 1996 when she taught 12-year-old Vili Fualaau in her class at Shorewood Elementary in Burien, a southern suburb of Seattle.
Police discovered them around 1:20 a.m. on June 19, 1996, parked in a minivan in the Des Moines Marina.
Letourneau, who was 34 at the time, initially told officers that the boy was 18, raising suspicions that something sexual was happening. At the police station, Fualaau and Letourneau denied that there had been “contact”. They claimed that Letourneau had been caring for the boy and was taken from his home after she and her husband had a fight.
About two months later, the evidence was undeniable: Letourneau was pregnant. They had one daughter, and then another, conceived in 1998, after Letourneau pleaded guilty to child rape, but before he began serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Letourneau and Fualaau were married on May 20, 2005 in Woodinville, Washington, after their release.
Fualaau and Letourneau characterized their relationship as one of love at the time, even writing a book together: “Un Seul Crime, L’Amour” or “Only One Crime, Love”. Her story became the subject of a USA Network movie, “All American Girl.”
But it didn’t last a lifetime: King County court records show that Fualaau filed for a legal separation from Letourneau on May 9, 2017.
Fualaau’s mother filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging that the city and the school district were unable to protect her son from the teacher. But the defendants said the relationship was so strange that no one could have predicted it. The district attorney said it started outside of school after the academic year had ended. Police argued that they simply had no evidence of sexual abuse until it was too late. A jury found against the family.
Seattle attorney Anne Bremner represented the police in that lawsuit and befriended Letourneau, visiting her in prison and meeting her for lunch after her release.
“She accepted that it was a crime and that she had to serve her sentence, but when she came out she didn’t stop,” Bremner said. “She moved forward in a very positive way and raised those girls. She was someone I supported. She really wanted it to go well, and she did it. “
As for Letourneau and Fualauu’s relationship: “Everyone said it wouldn’t last, but it did, at least for 20 years.”