Mary Kay Letourneau, the former Seattle teacher convicted for raping her sixth-grade student, died of cancer on Tuesday. She was 58 and is survived by her six children.
Letourneau, a married mother of four at the time, made national headlines in the 90’s when she admitted to engaging in a sexual relationship with then 12-year-old Shorewood Elementary Student, Vili Fualaau.
In the summer of 1996, police caught the teacher and student together in the back of a van parked at a nearby marina. Letourneau was questioned by officers, but denied any misconduct, and was released when Fualaau’s mother said the boy had permission to be out with his teacher.
Letourneau was later arrested in 1997, when her husband found a love letter to her young lover and turned it over to local law enforcement. By that time, the 34-year-old was already pregnant with Fualaau’s child. She gave birth to a daughter while out on bail.
The former teacher plead guilty to child rape, and in a generous plea agreement, received an 89-month prison sentence, that was suspended on the condition that she have no further contact with Fualaau.
Unable to stay away from her young lover, Letourneau was again discovered in a parked car with Fualaau. In February of 1998, a judge reinstated her prison sentence, and in October, she gave birth to Fualaau’s second daughter behind bars. Both children were raised by his mother while Letourneau served out her 7 ½ year sentence.
Following her release from prison, the taboo couple married at a winery in May 2005. They remained in the public eye by publicizing their wedding ceremony, participating in high profile interviews, and even writing a book, Only One Crime, Love.
They raised their family together for 14 years, then divorced in August 2019.