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Mary Kay Letourneau

Mary Kay Letourneau

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Mary Kay Fualaau formerly known as Mary Kay Letourneau, is an American schoolteacher who was imprisoned from 1997 to 2004 for having sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 with her 13-year-old student, Vili Fualaau. She gave birth to two of Fualaau's children while incarcerated. After her release from prison in 2004, Letourneau married Fualaau and took his name.

Early life

Letourneau was born Mary Katherine Schmitz in Tustin, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, to university professor John G. Schmitz
John G. Schmitz
John George Schmitz was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives and California State Senate from Orange County, California. He was also a member of the John Birch Society...

 and chemist Mary Schmitz. She was known as Mary Kay to her family and called "Cake" by her father. She was the fourth of seven children, raised in a "strict Catholic household." When she was 2 years old, her father began his political career and successfully ran as a Republican for a seat in the state legislature. He held positions as a California state senator
California State Senate
The California State Senate is the upper house of the California State Legislature. There are 40 state senators. The state legislature meets in the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The Lieutenant Governor is the ex officio President of the Senate and may break a tied vote...

 and U.S. Congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and, after changing parties, he ran for president
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 as an American Independent Party
American Independent Party
The American Independent Party is a right-wing political party of the United States that was established in 1967 by Bill and Eileen Shearer. In 1968, the American Independent Party nominated George C. Wallace as its presidential candidate and retired Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay as the vice...

 candidate in the 1972 U.S. presidential election.

In 1973, Letourneau's 3-year-old brother drowned in the family pool at their home in the Spyglass Hill section of Corona del Mar, California.

In 1982, her father's political career was severely damaged when it was revealed that during his affair with a former student at Santa Ana College, where he had taught political science, he had fathered two children out of wedlock. Her father's affair caused her parents to separate, but they later reconciled. According to friends Mary Kay felt betrayed and thought her mother was a cold person who "drove him to it" by denying her father affection.

Mary Kay attended Cornelia Connelly High School
Cornelia Connelly High School
Cornelia Connelly High School is a Catholic college preparatory high school for girls in Anaheim, California. Established in 1961 by the Sisters of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, it is named after Cornelia Connelly, founder of that order. Although located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of...

, an all-girls Catholic school
Catholic school
Catholic schools are maintained parochial schools or education ministries of the Catholic Church. the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system...

 in Anaheim, California
Anaheim, California
Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was about 365,463, making it the most populated city in Orange County, the 10th most-populated city in California, and ranked 54th in the United States...

, where she was a member of the cheerleading
Cheerleading is a physical activity, sometimes a competitive sport, based on organized routines, usually ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games or to participate...

 squad for Servite High School
Servite High School
Servite High School is an all-boys, Roman Catholic college preparatory high school operated by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary . Located on a campus in Anaheim, California, USA, as of 2011 it had an enrollment of about 985 and about 9200 alumni. Its mascot is the Friar and its colors are black...

 . During her high school years she is reported to have "liked parties, boys, and traveling." She was also a student at Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

 and was reported to be a "party-animal."

Personal life

While attending Arizona State University, Letourneau, then Schmitz, met and married fellow student Steve Letourneau. They had four children, the first conceived while she was enrolled at Arizona State University.

Letourneau says she was not in love with Steve Letourneau and married him after being urged by her parents. Letourneau and her husband left the university and moved to Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

. After a year in Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, her husband was transferred to Seattle and Letourneau gave birth to her second child, whom she named Claire. Letourneau attended night classes at Seattle University
Seattle University
Seattle University is a Jesuit Catholic university located in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, USA.SU is the largest independent university in the Northwest US, with over 7,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools, and is one of 28 member...

 and graduated in 1989. Later she began teaching second grade at Shorewood Elementary School in the Seattle suburb of Burien, Washington
Burien, Washington
Burien is a city in King County, Washington, United States, located south of Seattle. As of the 2010 Census, Burien's population is 33,313, which is a 2.9% increase since incorporation. Annexation in 2011 has increased the cities population to about 45,000....


Letourneau's marriage reportedly suffered from financial problems and extramarital affairs by both partners. Letourneau's attorney, former neighbor and friend, David Gehrke, says that she was "emotionally and physically abused by her husband" during the marriage and twice "went to the hospital for treatment, and police were called," even though criminal charges were never filed. Despite these marital issues, Letourneau gave birth to two more children, her son Nicholas and her daughter Jacqueline. In May 1999, while incarcerated, Letourneau divorced Steve Letourneau and surrendered custody of her four children.

Letourneau's brother John Patrick Schmitz is the former deputy counsel to President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...


Crime, trial and conviction

In 1996 while Letourneau was a Des Moines, Washington elementary school teacher, her relationship with 13-year-old student Vili Fualaau transformed from friendship into flirtation and sex. Letourneau was arrested in March 1997 after her husband, Steve Letourneau, notified the police.

During the trial she was examined and diagnosed with manic depression. Letourneau pled guilty and was convicted of two counts of second-degree child rape. She was sentenced to six months in the county jail and three years of treatment. At that time she was not required to register as a sex offender. As part of her plea bargain, Letourneau agreed to avoid any further contact with Fualaau.

Two weeks (or one month) after her release from jail, police found Letourneau while she was having sexual relations with Fualaau in her car. She was arrested for violating the terms of her parole and the police found $6200 in cash and her passport inside her car. As a result, Letourneau was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.

In October 1998, while serving her sentence, Letourneau gave birth to her second daughter by Fualaau. In January, 2001, Letourneau's father died, and she was denied a release from prison to attend his funeral. While in prison Letourneau tutored fellow inmates, created audio books for blind readers, participated in the prison choir and "rarely missed Mass." Because of her celebrity status Letourneau was unpopular with other inmates, "sassed guards and balked at work" and spent "18 of her first 24 months" in solitary confinement.

In 2002, Fualaau's family sued the Highline School District and the city of Des Moines, Washington
Des Moines, Washington
Des Moines is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 29,673 at the 2010 census. Property within the city has been the subject of land buyouts because of noise from aircraft landing or taking off from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport two miles to the north of...

, for emotional suffering, lost wages, and the costs of rearing his two children, claiming the school and the Des Moines Police Department had failed to protect him from Letourneau. During the ten week trial, defense attorneys Anne Bremner
Anne Bremner
Anne Melani Bremner is a Seattle, Washington-based trial attorney. She has performed legal work on a number of high-profile cases, including in the murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy as legal counsel and a spokesperson for the Friends of Amanda Knox, and as the lawyer for the family of Rebecca...

, representing the Des Moines Police Department, and Michael Patterson, representing the Highline School District, prevailed and no damages were awarded.

Letourneau was released on a community placement program on August 4, 2004 and the following day she registered with the King County Sheriff's Office as a Level 2 sex offender.

Relationship with Vili Fualaau

Letourneau first met Vili Fualaau when he was a student in her second-grade class at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien, Washington
Burien, Washington
Burien is a city in King County, Washington, United States, located south of Seattle. As of the 2010 Census, Burien's population is 33,313, which is a 2.9% increase since incorporation. Annexation in 2011 has increased the cities population to about 45,000....

; she later taught a sixth-grade class in which Fualaau was a student. Letourneau began an intimate relationship with 12-year-old Fualaau, and at 35 Letourneau became pregnant with Fualaau's child. Letourneau was subsequently arrested, convicted and imprisoned for statutory
Statutory rape
The phrase statutory rape is a term used in some legal jurisdictions to describe sexual activities where one participant is below the age required to legally consent to the behavior...

 "second degree rape of a child".

Letourneau gave birth to two children with Fualaau, giving her a total of six children. Her first daughter with Fualaau, Audrey, was born in May 1997 while Letourneau was out of jail on bail. Daughter Georgia Alexis was conceived while Letourneau was on probation, and was born in October 1998 while Letourneau was incarcerated.

After Letourneau's release from prison in 2004, Fualaau, then age 21, filed a motion in court, requesting a reversal of the no-contact order against Letourneau. A few days later the request was granted. Letourneau and Fualaau were married on May 20, 2005 in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville in a ceremony at the Columbia Winery
Columbia Winery
Columbia Winery is a Washington State winery located in Woodinville, Washington. The tasting room, main administrative offices and event facilities are located at 14030 NE 145th Street P.O. Box 1248 Woodinville, WA 98072. The winery production facility is located at 2310 Holmason Rd Sunnyside, WA...

. Exclusive access to the wedding was given to the television show, Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight is a daily tabloid television entertainment television news show that is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution throughout the United States, Canada and in many countries around the world. Linda Bell Blue is currently the program's executive producer...

and photographs were released through other media outlets. Letourneau has said that she would like to have another child and return to the teaching profession and indicated that by law she is permitted to teach at private schools and community colleges.

Since their marriage, Letourneau and Fualaau have hosted three "Hot for Teacher Night" promotions at a Seattle night club with Fualaau serving as the disc jockey and Letourneau as host.

During an Inside Edition interview Fualaau said, "I'm not a victim. I'm not ashamed of being a father. I'm not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay." Attorney Anne Bremner, who met Letourneau in 2002 during Fualaau's civil suit, said that Letourneau considered her affair with Fualaau to be "eternal and endless." According to Bremmer, "Nothing could have kept the two of them apart."

See also

  • Sexual harassment in education
    Sexual harassment in education
    Sexual harassment in education in the United States is an unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a American's student’s ability to learn, study, work or participate in school activities. It is common in middle and high schools in the United States. Sexual or gender harassment ...

  • Sexual abuse
    Sexual abuse
    Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

  • Child sexual abuse
    Child sexual abuse
    Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities , indecent exposure with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to...

  • Pamela Rogers Turner
    Pamela Rogers Turner
    Pamela Joan Rogers , a former elementary school physical education teacher and coach in McMinnville, Tennessee, had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy who was one of her students in Centertown Elementary School....

  • Debra Lafave
    Debra Lafave
    Debra Jean Beasley, better known under her former married name of Debra Lafave, is a former teacher at Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida. She pleaded guilty in 2005 to...

Suggested reading

  • McElroy, W. (2004). No panic over school child abuse. Commentary: The Independent Institute. (Request reprint).

External links