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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.
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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.
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.
In 1989, Letourneau finally got her degree from Seattle University. That fall, she 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.
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