Mary Kay Letourneau

Mary Kay Letourneau was sentenced to seven years in prison for statutory rape for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy in her class.


Born Mary Katherine Schmitz, in January 1962, in Orange County, California, Mary Kay Letourneau became infamous in February 1997 when it was learned that she had a sexual affair with Vili Fualaau, a 13-year-old boy in the class she taught. After serving 80 days of a seven-year sentence, Letourneau was released on parole and was promptly caught with Fualaau and sent to prison for her full term. Upon her release, the two married in 2005, having had two children as well. Journalist Barbara Walters interviewed the couple for an episode of 20/20 during their 10-year wedding anniversary.

Early Life

Former elementary school teacher and convicted sex offender Mary Kay Letourneau was born Mary Katherine Schmitz on January 30, 1962, in Orange County, California. She was the fourth child and first daughter of college professor John Schmitz, and his devoutly Roman Catholic wife, Mary Schmitz. With plans to pursue a career in politics, she intended to move to Washington, D.C., following her college graduation from Arizona State University.

However, while still a student, she became pregnant with the child of fellow classmate Steve Letourneau. In 1985, the couple got married and dropped out of college before moving to his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. A year later, the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where they had three more children over the next few years.

Involvement with Vili Fualaau

In 1989, Letourneau took a job teaching at Shorewood Elementary School, where she became a respected member of the faculty. As a teacher, Letourneau took sixth-grade student Vili Fualaau under her wing, and encouraged his artistic talents. He spent time at her house, and she encouraged a friendship between him and her oldest child, Steve, who was only a year younger than him.

In June 1996, however, she began a sexual relationship with the 13-year-old, a relationship that Fualaau would later say he welcomed. The relationship came crashing to a halt in February 1997, when Steve Letourneau found love letters that his wife had written to Fualaau. Later that month, a relative of Steve's reported the affair to officials at Shorewood Elementary. The police were notified, and Letourneau (who at the time was pregnant with Fualaau's child) was arrested and charged with statutory rape.


Letourneau gave birth to a baby girl, named Audrey, in May 1997. Three months later, Letourneau pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree rape. Although a defense psychiatrist testified that she suffered from bipolar disorder (a form of manic depression), Letourneau was sentenced to seven years in prison. After serving 80 days, she was granted a release on the condition that she enter a treatment program for sex offenders and promised not to have any contact with Fualauu. In February 1998, Letourneau violated the terms of her parole when the Seattle police caught her with Fualauu in a parked car. Authorities found $6,200 in cash, passports, and receipts for $850 in clothing purchases, leading authorities to speculate that Letourneau and Fualauu were planning to flee the country.

As a result of the violation of her parole, Letourneau was sentenced to serve her full prison term at the Washington Correction Center for Women. In October 1998, she gave birth to a second daughter by Fualauu (supposedly conceived during her brief period of parole). Both girls were in the custody of Fualaau's mother, Soona, while Letourneau served her time. The Letourneaus divorced during this time as well, and all four children from their marriage remained in the sole custody of their father, who moved with them to Alaska.

Marriage to Fualaau

Letourneau was released from prison in August 2004. Shortly after her release, a judge lifted an order that barred contact between Mary Kay Letourneau and Fualaau after the 21-year-old Fualaau petitioned the court. He and Letourneau soon got engaged. In May 2005, the couple married at a winery in Woodinville, Washington. They sold their wedding video to the press. Eventually reunited with their children, Fualaau and Letourneau live in a suburb of Seattle, Washington. Fualaau has been working as a DJ in recent years, and the couple hosted a series of "Hot for Teacher" nights at a local club in 2009.

In early 2014, Letourneau was arrested once again for driving with a suspended license and failure to appear in court. However, this was a far shorter stint behind bars after she was released on $5,000 bond the same day that she was arrested. She and Fualaau celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary in 2015, with famed interviewer Barbara Walters talking to the couple on an episode of 20/20.

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