Who was Mary Kay Letourneau? Disgraced teacher who raped 12-year-old student and had his babies dies at 58
Mary Kay Letourneau, infamous for her sexual relationship with a student when he was just 12, died after suffering from stage-4 cancer. She was 58. According to People, two sources close to the controversial Washington middle school teacher said she had been battling the disease for several months.
Who was she and why did her crime become the national discussion in America? Born in 1962 in Tustin, California to chemist mother, Mary E and community college instructor father, John G Schmitz, she first married fellow student Steve Letourneau and had four kids with him. Their marriage eventually failed and her attorney and former neighbor, David Gehrke told Los Angeles Times that she was "emotionally and physically abused by her husband" during their marriage, and twice "went to the hospital for treatment, and police were called."
In the summer of 1996, LeTourneau was a sixth-grade teacher when her relationship with a Samoan-American student, Vili Fualaau, turned from platonic to sexual. In 1997, she pleaded guilty to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child and reached a plea agreement for six months in jail, with three months suspended, and no contact with Fualaau for life among other terms. However, once she was released, the two were caught in a car and she was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape.
During the first sentencing, she gave birth to Fualaau's child and after eight months in prison, another daughter was born. The two girls were named Georgia and Audrey. Once Letourneau was released from prison in 2004, Fualaau — then 21 — petitioned the court to allow them to see each other. While the restraining order was dropped, Letourneau's scandalous affair remained a national discussion and she was still a registered sex offender in Washington state.
In May 2005, the couple exchanged vows. However, the pair ultimately split in 2017 after Fualaau filed for legal separation. Even after the legal proceedings, the two were often spotted together in the Seattle area. While there were several reconciliation attempts, the separation became official late last year and the two began living apart.
As the news of her death circulated on social media, Twitter was buzzing with reactions. "Wow Mary Kay Letourneau and Al Borland both died. Anyone else random from the 90’s going to check out?" one said and another posted, "Mary Kay LeTourneau died? That's one of the first gonzo news stories I remember from my youth. She was a child rapist yeah, but hearing about that as a kid always felt nuts."
"#MaryKayLetourneau dies at 58 The former #WABurien teacher served time in jail for raping a 12-year-old student. She later married that student, #ViliFualaau. Letourneau died of cancer. #rip," one tweet read and another said, "Haven’t heard the name Mary Kay LeTourneau in a long time. Praying for her children as they navigate the headlines, in the days ahead." Many slammed her as a "pedophile" and one said: "Mary Kay Letourneau is dead. I don’t have much to say other than I find myself looking at the case very differently than I did as an adolescent. Now that I understand power dynamics and manipulation I’m horrified that she was able to make herself a pseudo-celebrity."
"While I have compassion and empathy for most people, I find it hard to muster up either for a convicted pedophile such as Mary Kay Letourneau. But my sympathies go out to her children," one tweet read and another said, "Looks like Mary Kay Letourneau passed away today. Look-I know it’s too soon, but remember when lots of guys said the victim was lucky because she was pretty? I do. Also, I remember he was 12!!! Ugh. #MaryKayLetorneau #TooYoungForConsent."