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Mary Kay Letourneau, the Seattle teacher who raped a 13-year-old student and later married him after serving seven years in prison, died of cancer Monday.
Her attorney, David Gehrke, said Letourneau, 58, had been battling stage four cancer.
“It was expected but sad anyway,” Gehrke said, according to KOMO News. “She was a good person.“
The ABC affiliate characterized the couple’s relationship as “an affair” in reporting on her death.
— KOMO News (@komonews) July 8, 2020
Letourneau was 34 when she began a sexual relationship with Vili Fualaau in 1996, who was 12-years-old.
The former teacher had two children with Fualaau before he turned 15.
She pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree child rape and had their first child while awaiting sentence. After serving three months of a reduced sentence in prison, she defied court orders to stay away from the child, which resulted in the seven-year sentence.
Letourneau gave birth to their second child in 1998, shortly after going to prison.
The couple married in 2005 after she was released from prison — the court ordered Letourneau to have no contact with Fualaau, who was then 21, but he fought to have the order removed.
The relationship did not last, as they divorced in 2019.
Lost in the sensationalism of the story is that Letourneau effectively abandoned four children she had with her first husband at the time to pursue the relationship with the young boy.
Steve Letourneau, her first husband, divorced her while she was in prison.
Letourneau, who portrayed the relationship as forbidden love, was unapologetic for her actions.
“Am I sorry he’s the father of my children, and that we’re married and this is the man of my life? No, I am not,” she said in a 2018 A&E documentary.
For what it’s worth, Fualaau did not see himself as the victim of a sexual predator.
“I’m not a victim. I’m not ashamed of being a father. I’m not ashamed of being in love with Mary Kay,” he said in a 2013 Inside Edition interview.
While some tried to downplay Letourneau’s actions, the fact that she raped a young boy was not lost on others, even if they did eventually marry.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
This is gross. An adult does not have an “affair” with a sixth grader. Be better than that.
— Jon Blue⭐️⭐️ (@JonBlueFC) July 8, 2020
You can’t “have an affair” with a 12-year-old. That implies consent. Kids can’t consent to their adult teachers.
— Andrew (@AndrewSnarks) July 8, 2020
Fixed it! pic.twitter.com/7XENcwqCcY
— Bridgette Maryman (@bemaryman) July 8, 2020
Mary Kay Letourneau is dead. She had sex with her 12 yr old student when she was his 6th grade teacher. She was sentenced to 7 years for child rape. She had 2 children with the boy before he turned 15. While announcing her death her lawyer called her “a good person”.
Uh, no. 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/Q2Im2LzHPJ
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) July 8, 2020
At the time that Mary Kay Letourneau was arrested for raping a child, I was 10 years old. I was also being raped by a grown woman at that time. The message from a lot of adults, especially men, to me and so many other kids–particularly boys–is that women can’t be predators.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) July 8, 2020
I am sure that Mary Kay Letourneau will be mourned, and cancer is an ugly, ugly thing. However, she was also a prime example of how female pedophiles are never punished as severely as men- she was even celebrated later- and that is a sick double standard that needs to change.
— andrea (@ehwhatdoiknow) July 8, 2020
Convicted rapist Mary Kay Letourneau is dead.
Just wanted to make sure everyone remembered why she was famous.
— Jane Praxis 💋 (@JanieGotHerGun) July 8, 2020
Vili Faulaau was 12. Mary Kay Letourneau, 34. If she hadn’t been sexy and youthful, this would never have been presented as a love story when she was an obsessive derailing a young life. He was 12 when she had his baby. She abandoned her four kids to pursue him. So very wrong. pic.twitter.com/oMrDu6ajNT
— Victoria Brownworth #RadicalAntiFascist (@VABVOX) July 8, 2020
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