Teacher who raped, married student dies

 

Mary Kay Letourneau, who was convicted of raping her student and then later marrying him, has died at age 58.

She lost her battle with cancer, her lawyer David Gehrke has said.

Letourneau was a 34-year-old teacher when she made headlines for having sex with one of her grade six students.

Letourneau was a mother of four and still married to her first husband when she was convicted of the rape Vilo Fualaau. He was age 12 at the time - and just 13 when Letourneau had his first baby.

Vilo Fualaau with Mary Kay Letourneau.
Vilo Fualaau with Mary Kay Letourneau.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child in 1997 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Despite all this, Letourneau said she "did not know" she was committing was a crime.

In an interview with Channel 7's Sunday Night in 2018, the former Seattle primary school teacher was quick to defend her actions - a defence she's held from the beginning of the affair.

After six months in jail, Letourneau was granted parole on the condition she did not see Fualaau, who was just 18 months older than her eldest son.

Less than a month later, police interrupted the couple having sex in a car.

Mary Kay Letourneau was convicted of two counts of felony rape in 1997 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Mary Kay Letourneau was convicted of two counts of felony rape in 1997 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

She was then sent back to jail after violating her condition, and ordered to serve out the balance of her sentence. But by then she was already pregnant with Fualaau's second child - her sixth - and gave birth in prison.

Letourneau and Mr Fualaau then married in 2005. But in 2017, he filed for separation however withdrew the request.

He said he had thought about leaving the relationship but Letourneau said she was still madly in love with her husband.

Until recently, Letourneau has been working as a paralegal at the same court where she faced trial more than two decades ago.

She gave birth to the couple’s second child in prison.
She gave birth to the couple’s second child in prison.

 

Letourneau, age 35, during her court hearing in 1998. Picture: AP Photo/Alan/Berner
Letourneau, age 35, during her court hearing in 1998. Picture: AP Photo/Alan/Berner

 

And in her 1996 school photo. Picture: AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, HO
And in her 1996 school photo. Picture: AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, HO

Letourneau, who quickly became the subject of tabloid fodder across the world, still appeared frustrated with the media scrutiny over the years. The former teacher insisted the shocking relationship was always consensual.

In 2018 documentary Mary Kay Letourneau: Autobiography the former teacher claimed that she didn't think the relationship could result in an arrest.

Letourneau went on to also claim how the student instigated the sexual relationship with his increasingly aggressive advances. Mr Fualaau allegedly bet with one of his friends he could seduce his former teacher.

The pair pictured together in 2009. Picture: Zuma/Alamy
The pair pictured together in 2009. Picture: Zuma/Alamy

Before the couple could wed, Mr Fualaau had to get a court order barring Letourneau from contacting him lifted. By then those who lived near the couple accepted the marriage, despite the high-profile scandal.

Her lawyer David Gehrke told local news station KOMO News she died after being unwell for a while.

"It was expected but sad anyway," he said. "She was a good person."

Originally published as Teacher who raped, married student dies

The couple in 2005. Picture: AP Photo/Courtesy of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, Mark Greenberg
The couple in 2005. Picture: AP Photo/Courtesy of Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, Mark Greenberg

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