WHAT HAPPENED? (1)
Alright y'all, let's strap in for a really crazy story that is terrible from start to finish.
Mary Kay Letourneau was a schoolteacher. In 1997, she pleaded guilty on 2 counts of felony second-degree rape of a child. The child? Her 12 year old SIXTH GRADE STUDENT. And oh, it gets worse. While she was awaiting sentencing, she GAVE BIRTH TO HIS BABY.
Okay, so an adult teacher had what was considered, between the 2 of them to be consensual sex, though we all know about statutory rape, so she raped a 6th grader, and she was sentenced to 6 months in jail, with 3 months suspended. She was to have no contact with her student for life. (SHE SPENT 3 MONTHS IN JAIL FOR RAPE!)
After she got out of jail, she was caught in a car with the child. The judge revoked her plea deal and gave her the maximum sentence, which was 7 and a half years, which is still an absolutely bananas short amount of time for rape. In prison, she gave birth to his SECOND KID, meaning when she was legally not supposed to be seeing him at all, she was raping him again.
And here is where it gets even more terrible. She was in prison until 2004. When she got out, she MARRIED HER FORMER STUDENT and they remained married for 14 years.
LET'S LEARN ABOUT MARY (1)
Mary was born in 1962 to a former chemist and a community college teacher. Her family called her Mary Kay, and her father nicknamed her "Cake". She was the 4th of 7 kids and their household was a strict, Catholic one. Her father ran for a Republican seat on state legislature when she was a child, and won. He held various positions and ultimately ran for president as an Independent in 1972. The year after his presidential run, one of the children, 3 at the time, drowned in the family pool and died.
Mary attended an all-girls Catholic High School and was a member of the cheerleading sqaud, and went to Arizona State University for college. Her father continued his political career, but his run for U.S. Senate in 1982 screeched to a halt when it was revealed that he had 2 out-of-wedlock children with one of his former college students. The parents separated, but eventually got back together.
Mary met her first husband, Steve Letorneau, at Arizona State University. She quickly had a child with him, the first of 4. She claimed that she was not in love with him, but was urged by her parents to marry him. The couple moved to Anchorage, Alaska and had their second child. Mary graduated from Seattle University in 1989 with a teaching degree, and began teaching 2nd grade. She had 2 other children at some point, as well.
The couple was on the rocks. They had financial issues, and both of them were cheating. Charges were never filed, but many people corroborate that she was emotionally and physically abused by her husband, landing in the hospital twice.
The affair (read: rape) with her student occurred while the couple was still married, but she divorced him while in prison. He gained custody of all 4 children.
THE CRIME AND THE PUNISHMENT (1)
Vili Fualaau, a Samoan-American child, was one of Mary's 2nd grade students, and then when she went on to teach 6th grade, he was her student again. The teacher and student got along well, but in the summer of 1996 when he was 12 and she was 34, the relationship "turned sexual".
On June 18, 1996, the police found Mary in her car with her young student. She jumped into the front seat while Vili pretended to sleep in the back. They provided false names, and he claimed to be 18 years old. They claimed no touching had taken place, and that Vili had witnessed an argument between she and her husband. She claimed they were family friends.
The police didn't buy it for one minute, and they were taken to the police station. Vili's mother was called, but she didn't understand what had happened, so she said that her son could go back with Mary. She later said that, had police told her that he had lied about his age and the position they were found in, she would have never allowed her son to go back with his predatory teacher.
The 2 were able to continue their relationship for almost a year before a relative of Mary's husband contacted the police to let them know about her affinity for raping children, and she was arrested in March of 1997.
If there was any question about what was going on between the young teen and his teacher in her 30s, they were put at bay when she gave birth to their daughter in May 1997. She had plead guilty to 2 counts of second-degree child rape, and though the state tried to sentence her to 6 and a half years, she was only given 3 months, and was not required to register as a sex offender.
As part of her plea deal, she was not allowed to contact Vili, or any of her 5 children, or have contact with any minors, rendering her teaching degree useless.
But apparently, she didn't feel like she hit the lottery by only having to serve 3 months in jail and not being on the sex offender registry for the repeated rape of a child. She was found only 2 weeks after completing her sentence in the car with Vili. Again, they lied about their names, and claimed that no sexual intercourse had taken place. Further investigation revealed the 2 had been together several times since her release from jail.
She was again arrested. She was found with over $6,000 in cash, baby clothes and a passport, giving the impression that she planned to flea. Receipts for $850 worth of men's clothing and baby clothes were found, as well. She claimed that the money was for her divorce lawyer and dermatology treatments (uh, they take credit cards, Mary) and claimed she liked wearing oversized men's clothing, so those were hers.
The police and judge were like, full nope. Her plea agreement was revoked, and she was sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison. She gave birth to Vili's second daughter in October of 1998. She and Vili also published a book together called "Only One Crime, Love" which is disgusting and terrible and also, entirely false. Another book was published called "If Loving You Is Wrong" which, yes, it is.
While in prison, Mary was able to have visits from her children, but was not allowed to go to her father's funeral. (Not that I think she should have gotten to go to her father's funeral, but I think she should have been able to do that over SEE HER CHILDREN, you know, as she is a PREDATOR OF CHILDREN!) Also while in prison, she tutored inmates, created audio books for the blind, participated in the prison choir and always attended Mass.
Due to the nature of her imprisonment, she was not well-liked by other inmates or guards. She also reportedly spent 18 months in solitary confinement for being rude to guards and refusing to do work, and for trying to write letters to her victim that were intercepted.
In 2002, Vili's family sued the school district for failing to keep their son safe, emotional suffering, lost wages, and the cost of his 2 children. After a 10-week trial, no damages were awarded. This is a good example of a double standard in the handling of rape cases. If a 34-year-old male teacher impregnated a 12-year-old female student, I can't imagine damages not being rewarded, and I see the case handled a lot differently.
...AND THEN COMES MARRIAGE?
Mary was released from prison on August 4, 2004. She registered the following day as a level 2 sex offender. Her student/lover/victim was now 21, and somehow persuaded the court to reverse the no-contact order between them. (1)
The couple married on May 20, 2005. They granted exclusive access to the TV show Entertainment Tonight for their wedding, which is super creepy. Mary planned to return to teaching, and was allowed by law to teach at private schools and community colleges. I hope, at the very least, she wasn't allowed to teach children. (1)
Mary never believed she did anything wrong, and Vili never saw himself as a victim. They believed they were in love and could have never been kept apart. "I'm not a victim," Vili said. "I am not ashamed of being a father. I'm not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay." But despite that love, Vili filed for separation after 12 years of marriage in 2017, but eventually withdrew it. (1)
In April of 2018, Vili had a job at a home improvement store and as a DJ, and Mary was working as a legal assistant. An insider said, "They know what everyone thinks about their relationship and they don't care. They really never have. The wrong stuff that happened was so long ago. They are two grown adults who are living their lives now." Um, except, NOPE, because she still had sex with a 6th grader when she was in her 30s. (`)
But their twisted love story would eventually end, and they divorced in 2019. Sources claim that their relationship had been deteriorating for years before ultimately failing. They hoped they could work it out, but perhaps the fact that his wife had sexually abused him as a child made it difficult for them to work it out. (2)
The couple's children, Audrey, now 22, and Georgia, now 21, both say they understand the background of their parents' relationship, but just grew up with it so they feel adapted to it. They consider their dad more like a "friend dad" because he is so much younger than their mother. Mary's other 4 children from her first marriage, Steve Jr., 33, Mary Claire, 33, Nicholas, 29 and Jacqueline, 27, had little contact with their mom growing up. But after being released from prison, she developed a relationship with all of her children... with Vili, too. He claimed he had a good relationship with "his stepchildren", but admits it is awkward to be so close in age to his "children". (3)
(If, in 2020, Mary's oldest child was 36, and in 1996, her victim was 12, that would mean he is also 36. So when she was raping her 12-year-old student, she had a 12-year-old son at home. Disgusting.)
This story is... troubling to say the least. Vili didn't understand that he was a victim, and a survivor of sexual assault, and still might not. Perhaps it was because of the cultural stigma around young boys and sexuality: They're supposed to be sexual, they're supposed to be into their attractive female teachers. Perhaps other students even congratulated him for having sex with his teacher. (There are many cases of attractive, adult teachers having sex with younger male students, and when posted to the Internet, there are always people who are saying "trust me, its not assault, he wants it" or, "if I were in his place, I would not have reported anything" or, "lucky kid"). When being sexually abused translates to being "the man", it is hard to understand that you're the victim.
At least, it appears, that there wasn't a trail of victims left behind Mary Kay. For some reason, she set her sights on one 12-year-old and didn't offend again. She is a sex offender, and so hopefully that makes it hard for her to get close to children again. Sources report that she is on dating sites, searching for "age-appropriate" men. (But here's the thing: No one really cares if you're 50 and trying to meet up with dudes in their 20s. It was the fact that he was 12 when they started sleeping together, not the age gap itself.)
Please use this case as a reminder that boys can be assaulted, that men can be raped. Having sex with your adult teacher is not cool, it is assault. Being coerced or pressured or forced into sex by a woman, even if you are the same age, is not normal, it is rape. Women can be rapists and men can be victims, and female rapists should be held to the same standard as male rapists, while male victims should be treated the same as female victims (which actually is often not good, but you know what I mean).
When adult women rape adult men, again, the stigma that men should be non-stop sex machines hurts. How could you be forced into sex with a woman when every man just thinks about and wants sex all the time? Men are allowed to not want sex. And when they don't, and are forced into it, that's rape. When a young child is "having sex with" their attractive female teacher, he isn't "the man", he is being assaulted.
Perhaps understanding this will help the next 12-year-old kid who thinks he is cool for hooking up in his teacher's car, and in love when he's really being victimized, understand that what happened is not right. But that was not the case here, because 15 years ago today, a victim and predator got married.